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Iowa late changes: should you amend your returns?

April 28, 2011

Iowa's legislature saw fit to change the rules of the 2010 tax game this month, after most Iowans had probably already tallied their scorecards. So should we amend our Iowa 2010 returns right away?

I understand that the Iowa Department of Revenue is working on a legislative proposal that would enable taxpayers to take some of these fixes on 2011 returns, rather than amending their 2010 returns. The Department isn't really staffed to handle a flood of amended returns, and many taxpayers would rather not pay to have an amended 2010 return preparered if they can use their new 2010 deductions in 2011.

If you can take your Iowa 2010 $250 educator expense in 2011, it's hardly worth filing an amended return to claim a $17 refund. Even a big additional Section 179 deduction might be worth waiting for if it is coming out of an S corporation or partnership on a batch of K-1s, where each individual owner would also have to file an amended return.

Iowa may also come out with a streamlined amended return process for 2010 refunds. So it may well be worth waiting two or three weeks to see what the legislature and the Department of Revenue come up with before filing your refund claims.

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