Last week, Congress and the President agreed to reopen the federal government with a Continuing Resolution that only funds the government through 15 January 2014. Some smart people were predicting that this solution, which could easily result in another government shutdown in January, would result in a delay in the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) opening of the 2014 tax filing season. The IRS was originally planning to begin accepting tax return submissions on 21 January 2014.
Well, seems those smart people were even smarter than they thought. The IRS has announced that due to this October shutdown, the opening of the 2014 tax filing season will be delayed by one to two weeks. Officials anticipate announcing an exact date in December 2013.
If it seems nuts that an October shutdown would delay a January opening, consider that the IRS relies heavily on more than 50 large software systems. While maintaining them is a year-round task, the bulk of updating, reviewing and testing occurs in the fall. With sixteen days off due to the shutdown, the process is way behind.
While this certainly seems inconvenient, I'd much rather have functioning systems and a later filing date versus the original date and potential disaster. Things are hard enough with the IRS - let's not make it any harder.
The 15 April 2014 deadline for filing will not change.