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IRS: Itemizers can file on Feb. 14

By Charles Riley, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Leave it to the Internal Revenue Service to further complicate the national mood on the only day of the year devoted exclusively to romance.

That's right. The IRS announced Thursday that Feb. 14 -- Valentine's Day -- will be the first day the agency will accept all itemized tax returns.

Late last year, the IRS said it would need extra time to reprogram its processing systems because Congress acted so late this year in cleaning up the tax code.

The bill, which includes deductions for state and local sales taxes, college tuition and teacher expenses, wasn't signed into law until Dec. 17.

The bill ensured that the federal income tax rates would not change, and itemized deductions will continue to be allowed in full for high-income taxpayers.

As a result, the 50 million taxpayers who itemize their deductions will have to hold off until Feb. 14 to file. Of course, not everyone files early: only about 9 million of the 140 million U.S. tax payers filed in January or February of last year.

The delay affects filers who itemize deductions on Form 1040 Schedule A. That includes those claiming the new Educator Expense Deduction, which credits grade school teachers for out-of-pocket expenses of up to $250.

It also includes those claiming deductions for college students, covering up to $4,000 of tuition, which is claimed on Form 8917, though the IRS said there is no delay for those that claim other education tax credits.

Though itemizers can work on their tax returns before the IRS is ready to accept them, the government said people should not send them in before it is ready to process the returns.

However, people using e-file for these delayed forms should be able to start working on their returns, because many major software providers have announced they will accept these impacted returns immediately.

Instead of immediately submitting the forms, the software companies will hold onto the forms until Feb. 14, and submit them after the IRS system comes online. To top of page

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