Following the temporary resolution to the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that taxpayers will have less time to file their 2013 tax returns this coming tax season. While your 2013 federal tax return is still due on April 15, 2014, the beginning of tax season will be delayed by one to two weeks.
Equitable fairness would dictate that a delay to the beginning of the tax season should mandate an extension to the tax filing deadline. However, the tax deadline statute does not have such exception. While I do have some clients that strategically need to file their tax returns the minute the tax season begins, for most taxpayers, a delay of the beginning of tax season is nothing more than shortening the period of tax preparation procrastination.
So why exactly do taxpayers have less time to prepare their taxes this coming tax season? The government shutdown; of course! In a remarkable coincidence, the IRS normally begins tuning and tweaking their complicated tax return processing systems in the fall preceding each tax year. This year’s system testing period was delayed when the IRS closed its doors during the first half of October. Therefore, the time needed to prepare the tax return processing systems will delay the date those systems can be functional.
In December, the IRS will announce the official beginning date of the upcoming tax season. It is expected to be between January 28, 2014 and February 4, 2014. This assumes, of course, that the government is not yet again “shutdown”. Those paying attention will notice that the “kick-the-can” compromise reached to reopen the government in October threats another shutdown in either January or February 2014.
While the IRS announced that there is technically less time to prepare your 2013 tax return, it contemporaneously reminded the public that they may file an extension to file their tax returns if needed. Be warned (again) that the tax filing extension is only an extension to file your tax return and is not an extension to pay any tax owed. The tax filing extension will allow you until October 2014 to prepare and file your 2013 tax return.
As alluded to above, I think it’s rare to find someone jumping at the opportunity to file their tax returns the first day they’re allowed to do so. However, for those of you who do immediately file your tax returns, you now have an extra week or two to review your tax return to hopefully ensure that you are not audited.
This article is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.