The IRS is Delaying the Start of Tax Season for 2014
What This Means For You?
The U.S. government shutdown in October of 2013 furloughed all non-essential employees, including those at the IRS. Believe it or not, even the IRS had to close its doors while the Congress and Senate wrangled over the debt ceiling. It is at this time of year when the IRS begins testing and updating its system to be ready in time for the upcoming tax season. But with 90 percent of its workforce on leave, the job wasn’t going to get done. Not being able to do the critical tests meant that the work had to be pushed back until the situation was resolved. As a result of the closure, the opening of the 2014 tax season has been delayed from January 21 to January 31.
What does this mean for filers?
There isn’t much overall impact to them apart from those who are prepared to submit their returns on the first day that the IRS accepts them. It’s estimated that the amount of people who are going to be inconvenienced aren’t that many as few people have all of their tax documents ready by this time. Those who are prepared are going to have to wait an extra ten days to file their returns.
The delay is a minor inconvenience when it comes to submitting returns, but it does not change the deadline for filing altogether. April 15 is the final day that taxes have to be filed by, or file an extension to finalize them by October 15.
In the meantime, it is business as usual for people who file their taxes from February onward. It’s not a bad idea to take advantage of the increased awareness in the change in opening date to start getting ready now instead of later. Having a complicated tax return is pretty much a guarantee that it’s going to take some time to get ready for filing. Putting together financial paperwork now saves time later, even if there are documents that have yet to arrive. Being in order now means that the straggling documents can easily be put in their place when they arrive.
For those who have a W-2 and few other considerations, there isn’t much to get together, but there are new tax laws to be aware of. The new requirement to have health insurance or pay a penalty is handled through the tax return. Having some kind of health insurance policy is required, or else deal with the fine that is deducted from the refund. Because this is the first year for the law, the penalties are expected to be minor, but be much higher in successive years. The last possible date to have a policy that is in effect by April 15, 2014, is March 31, in order to avoid paying that penalty. Those who get an insurance policy up until the last possible moment will receive an automatic waiver of the penalty. It is generated when the policy is purchased, and submitted automatically to the IRS. A taxpayer doesn’t have to do anything on their own in order to provide proof of policy purchase.
Being prepared for filing taxes directly results in getting the work done with the least amount of stress, and puts the task to rest for another year.