Thought everything would be back to normal after the end of the government shutdown? Not quite.
The Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that the shutdown will delay tax filing season by two weeks.
Don't get too excited, though. Returns are still due on April 15, and if you're an early filer, you'll wait an extra week or two to get your refund.
USA Today reported the IRS won't start processing returns until at least a week after its planned start date of Jan. 21, with the latest date being Feb. 4. If another shutdown were to occur while scheduled budget discussions take place in January, taxpayers will wait even longer to receive their refunds.
The delayed start is necessary to make up for the time lost preparing and testing computer systems for the onslaught of returns. According to the IRS, the shutdown put it almost three weeks behind in preparations, with extra training, programming and testing needed for better fraud and identity theft prevention and detection.
“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 Tuesday.
The IRS will announce the day it will start accepting returns sometime in December. Filing before that date won't speed things up, and electronic returns will still be processed faster than paper returns.
This year's tax filing season this year was also delayed because of Congress' failure to pass tax laws for 2012. USA Today also reported that those seeking filing extensions via the IRS hotline by the Oct. 15 deadline were unable to get through because of the shutdown.