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Government Shutdown Prompts IRS to Delay Start of Tax Season

Author: Frank L. Brunetti|November 1, 2013

Government Shutdown Prompts IRS to Delay Start of Tax Season

The 16-day government shutdown officially came to an end last week, but many federal agencies are still overcoming the effects of furloughs and stunted projects that cost the economy an estimated $24 billion. The Internal Revenue Service is one of the federal branches trying to play catch up, and the delays it experienced during the shutdown have prompted it to postpone the beginning of the 2014 tax season, an official recently announced.

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that the agency, which was originally slated to begin tax season on Jan. 21, will hold off on processing any and all applications until at least Jan. 28 or Feb. 4 at the very latest. However, American taxpayers and business owners will still be required comply with existing tax law deadlines and file their documents by April 15, or face penalties and interest. The delay is due in large part to the government shutdown, which forced the IRS to furlough roughly 90 percent of its workforce and abandon key processes that are critical to readying the agency for the 2014 tax season.

More specifically, the IRS noted that it is running three weeks behind, and needs more time to program and test the tax processing systems responsible for managing the more than 150 million returns it receives each year. Without proper testing, delays and errors are more likely to occur. This alone could cause problems with issuing refunds in a timely manner or lead to calculations errors on the part of the IRS.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” said Werfel. “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.”

Government Shutdown Prompts IRS to Delay Start of Tax Season

Author: Frank L. Brunetti

The 16-day government shutdown officially came to an end last week, but many federal agencies are still overcoming the effects of furloughs and stunted projects that cost the economy an estimated $24 billion. The Internal Revenue Service is one of the federal branches trying to play catch up, and the delays it experienced during the shutdown have prompted it to postpone the beginning of the 2014 tax season, an official recently announced.

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said that the agency, which was originally slated to begin tax season on Jan. 21, will hold off on processing any and all applications until at least Jan. 28 or Feb. 4 at the very latest. However, American taxpayers and business owners will still be required comply with existing tax law deadlines and file their documents by April 15, or face penalties and interest. The delay is due in large part to the government shutdown, which forced the IRS to furlough roughly 90 percent of its workforce and abandon key processes that are critical to readying the agency for the 2014 tax season.

More specifically, the IRS noted that it is running three weeks behind, and needs more time to program and test the tax processing systems responsible for managing the more than 150 million returns it receives each year. Without proper testing, delays and errors are more likely to occur. This alone could cause problems with issuing refunds in a timely manner or lead to calculations errors on the part of the IRS.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” said Werfel. “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.”

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