The October government shutdown is over, but its effects are still lingering. One area that’s been greatly impacted is taxpayer service. The IRS has already announced several delays taxpayers will face this tax season. Sandy Furuya, Senior Accounting Manager at Wamhoff, shares those delays.
1. The start of tax season has been delayed.
-Taxpayers will have to wait until at least February 4 to begin filing 2013 returns
-This is two weeks later than the original January 21 date.
-The delay was caused because the IRS was scheduled to test its new tax return systems, designed to help detect identity fraud, during the shutdown. Testing is now behind schedule.
-A final, official starting date will be announced in December
2. Refunds for early filers will be delayed.
-The IRS will not issue refunds as quickly in the 2013 filing season because of the anti-identity theft controls being implemented.
3. Questions and inquiries to the IRS taking longer.
-During the shutdown, the IRS received 400,000 letters from taxpayers. That’s on top of the 1 million items already in the system being processed.
-If you sent in documentation or information as a result of receiving a notice from the IRS, chances are you’ll keep getting those notices because they are so backlogged.
4. Keep your eyes on January 15th – more delays could be coming.
-The agency is funded through January 15, 2014
-If there is another shutdown due to Congress not reaching a new funding bill agreement, processing of tax returns will be delayed.
-That means no refunds on electronic or paper returns.
5. Despite other delays, the April 15 tax deadline is still in effect.
-This date is set by law, so the IRS does not budge on this.
-Even if the government is shut down and the IRS is closed, you still have to pay your taxes.