Here’s another reason to be annoyed at the 16-day government shutdown: It could delay tax refunds for millions of early filers by one or two weeks, the Internal Revenue Service announced today.
The IRS won’t start processing returns until at least Jan. 28 and possibly as late as Feb. 4, instead of the planned start date of January 21. Should the government shut down again in January over budget talks scheduled as part of the deal to reopen the federal government, refunds could be tied up even longer.
Taxpayers still must file a return by April 15, and companies must still send W-2 and other tax forms on schedule, usually by Jan. 31.
“While H&R Block is well prepared to adjust to the IRS announcement of a delay in the opening of the 2014 tax season, we are frustrated for our clients who are among the estimated 18 million taxpayers who typically file a return in January,” the tax preparation company said in a statement.
The IRS said it needs the extra time to program and test tax-processing systems. “The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season,” the IRS said in a release. “Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns.”
About 90% of the IRS was idled during the partial government shutdown, putting the IRS about three weeks behind in preparations, the IRS said. “Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said.
Read more at USA TODAY.