So how long of a delay are we looking at?
Previously, the original kick-off date to the start of the upcoming filing season was announced as January 21st, 2014 for individuals. Yesterday, however, the IRS announced a possible two-week delay for the acceptance of your 2013 e-filed return.
Why are they delaying the season?
The reason given for this delay is mainly because of the 16-day government shutdown. During the shutdown, only about 10% of the total IRS workforce was operational. This set back scheduled testing of the IRS tax processing systems (which process nearly 150 million tax returns during a tax season) and the handling of the 1 million items of correspondence the IRS was currently processing at the beginning of the shutdown.
Will this affect refunds?
The estimated 18 million taxpayers who typically file a return in January may certainly see a delay in their refunds as the IRS postpones accepting 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28th and no later than February 4th.
So what should we do to get our refunds as fast as possible?
Even with this announced delay, the fastest and most recommended method of submitting your tax return remains using e-file with a direct deposit for your refund. The IRS will not start processing paper-filed tax returns before the start date, and it takes the IRS much longer to process paper filed returns than e-filed returns.
Is there anything else that we should know about this?
An important thing you need to remember is that the April 15th filing deadline has not been postponed. The IRS will announce a final date on the start of the 2014 filing season sometime in December.