Thanks to the government shutdown, millions of Americans may experience delays on their tax refunds. The delay may be up to two weeks. This affects people who are used to filing their taxes early. Due to needing additional time to complete their tax-processing system, the Internal Revenue Service, (IRS), will not process returns until the twenty-eighth of January.
They may need to stretch it out until the fourth of February. If the government shuts down again in January, taxpayers may wait even longer than the additional two weeks to receive refunds. However, employers will still have to get their W2’s out on schedule and taxpayers still have to file by the fifteenth of April.
Accounting companies such as H&R Block are prepared for the delay in tax season, but they stated that they are frustrated and concerned about the people who normally file in January. The delay affects 18 million taxpayers who take care of their taxes in the beginning of tax season.
The IRS claims that the government shutdown occurred during, “the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season.” They will process approximately 150 million returns and to get that done, they need to ensure that their processing systems are able to handle the volume.
The IRS Needs More Time to Prepare
IRS Commissioner, Danny Werfel stated that, "Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right." The government shutdown interrupted this process and put the IRS tax refund schedule dates weeks off schedule.
Tax laws change each year, and systems have to be updated to accommodate the changes accurately. This year, the IRS must factor in the increase in income tax from the Affordable Care Act. The IRS is responsible for issuing guidance to individuals as well as those who prepare returns. This year they have to account for gay couples who are filing as married couples now as well.
In December the IRS will declare the date upon which they will be able to take tax returns. Filing electronically will get people their refunds faster than filing by mail. Deadlines for employers and employees will remain the same.
Making Sure You Get Your Refund Fast
Besides the IRS's own obstacles to providing timely tax refund schedule dates, many times refunds are delayed because of mistakes made by the tax payer. Tax payers who use TurboTax have a very low instance of filing for refunds that get delayed because of missing information, or that get rejected for any reason.