Those 16 days the government spent shut down will have far-reaching consequences into the future. Basically the Internal Revenue Service just can’t get those two weeks back, and as such it’ll be delaying the start of the 2014 tax filing season by one to two weeks.
That’s good news if you hate filing your taxes and drag it out and delay on your own, or bad news if you’re the sort that likes to get a jump on that task and collect a tidy refund as early as possible.
Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel wrote in a statement that it’s just a matter of preparedness, and the government shutdown didn’t help with the IRS’ need to update and test its system.
“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” he writes in the statement. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”
Instead of starting Jan. 21, it’ll kick off no earlier than Jan. 28 — but not any later than Feb. 4. The definite date will be announced in December.
So if you want to prep your tax returns before the start date, go for it, but the IRS won’t touch it until afterward anyway. Oh, and the April 15 deadline will still be in place.