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Tax professionals in limbo after fiscal cliff deal

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 02 2013 07:05:20 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

"I don't know what to tell them."

For the past month, Gallatin Valley Tax Services partner Kathy Olson has been at a loss for words when folks ask her about the fate of their taxes this year.

"You can't plan.  You can't tell them what to expect.  You can give them a ballpark but you can't get very close these days," explains Olson.

To make matters worse, Olson just received word the software programmed with tax laws, rates and the items on the return, won't arrive when she expected.  She tells me the forms aren't even certified by the IRS.

"They have these lines on them that say 'reserved' for something later because they don't know yet," says Olson.

She says those who want to make itemized deductions will have to wait until February, since forms are not yet finalized.

"Is there a particular group of folks that you think this will effect more?" I asked.
"Lots," says Olson.
"Really?"
"Yeah.  A lot of people.  The only people that will be able to file right away will be the people that have a 10-40 easy," says Olson.

Oslon tells me the fiscal cliff deal has several provisions that are retroactive and could effect filings for 2012 so, I asked Olson what that means for folks in Montana.

"They effect the filing of the return because, until the forms are finalized, you can't do anything...for everybody," says Olson.

I talked to some folks on Main Street who say they're in no hurry.

"I try to postpone that as long as possible.  It's a misery I don't enjoy," says Bozeman resident Timothy Tate.

Yet, that's not the case for everyone.

"I file right away," says Bozeman visitor Shannon Higgins.

Now, folks like Higgins worry having to wait to file will mean having to wait for her refund.

"I don't know if I'm going to be able to replenish that safety net as quickly or as fully," says Higgins.

Olson did say the IRS has yet to release a date for refunds to be mailed out, but says that's due to their efforts to investigate fraud, not Congress's late deal.