IRS mails tax forms late to let public enjoy holiday

December 26, 1990|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -- Merry Christmas from the IRS.

Your 1990 federal income-tax forms will be mailed to you Dec. 28, two days later than usual, "basically to move it away from the Christmas holiday, allow folks to enjoy it as long as they can before we throw a wet blanket on them," said Art Altman, IRS director of tax forms.

The big winners from this year's tax-form changes will be about 4.5 million retirees who claim no itemized deductions. This year, for the first time, they can file an adapted short form, the 1040A, instead of the regular 1040 long form.

The new short form "has larger type, simpler instructions . . . so they should have a simpler time filing," Mr. Altman said. The Internal Revenue Service redesigned the short form for such taxpayers, he added, because "we were finding that many people were taking the old 1040A and entering their retirement income on the wrong line. . . . They were forcing our hand."

This year's big losers, by contrast, will be U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia, who will be sent tax forms to add to their other burdens. But they may find some small consolation in an IRS decision to extend their filing deadline until June 15.

The IRS or Congress also may make that two-month grace period interest-free as well, Mr. Altman said. And if combat erupts, the IRS may grant the soldiers indefinite extensions, he rTC said. "But we're not at that point yet."

About 70 percent of all taxpayers will get refunds, the IRS estimates.

The IRS will mail about 97 million tax packages to taxpayers. Another 11 million taxpayers -- those who filed farm or business schedules last year using tax forms provided by commercial tax preparers -- will get only a postcard with a label, Mr. Altman said. Postcard recipients can get a full tax package by asking for one.

Tax forms also will be available at many banks, post offices and libraries. People needing forms other than the ones included in their tax packages can visit their local IRS office or call a new toll-free phone number: (800) TAX-FORM, or (800) 829-3676.

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