Taxpayers may receive returns one to two weeks in the upcoming tax season, after the government shutdown left the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) without enough time to test its tax processing system, the U.S. tax authority announced this week.
The original start date for the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, but the IRS expects to push the date back to anytime from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4.
"The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season," the IRS said in a release late Tuesday.
The IRS plans to announce the official start of the next tax season in December, and "is exploring options to shorten the expected delay."
About 90 percent of IRS operations were halted during the government shutdown. The 16 days of policy paralysis "came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season."
In addition to programing and testing more than 50 systems needed to handle almost 150 million returns, "there are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention."