Government shut down ripples down to your taxes

The Internal Revenue Service will delay the start of the 2014 filing season for about one to two weeks, thanks to the 16-day federal government closure. This is the second year for a delay, and a final decision on timing is due out in December, according to Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel.

What does this mean for you? The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date. If you were hoping to get your refund early, know that there is no advantage to filing your 2013 taxes on paper before the opening date. On top of that – you will receive your tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit.

The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place, but there’s no promise that refund processing won’t be backlogged even at that late date.

The closure is also impacting the ability to get help directly from the IRS. You’ll need to find extra patience as the IRS reports heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services. The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on whenever possible.