taxes

How the Government Shutdown Might Affect the Filing of Your 2013 Tax Return

Expect the start of the tax-filing season to be delayed -- which means a longer wait for refunds.

I’m expecting a refund after I file my 2013 income tax return. Will the tax-filing deadlines be affected by the government shutdown in October? --S.M., Brooklyn

The shutdown could affect when you file your return. The IRS plans to delay the start of tax-filing season, pushing back the date it starts accepting returns from January 21 until sometime between January 28 and February 4 (the specific date has not yet been announced).

The IRS is using the extra time to update and test the computer systems that process tax returns, a task it would have already accomplished had IRS workers not been furloughed during the 16-day shutdown. Because of the delay, you may not get your tax refund as quickly as you had hoped. You can speed up the process by using e-file with direct deposit.

Getting a refund means the IRS withheld too much money from your paychecks during the year. Rather than wait for a refund next year, arrange to keep more in each paycheck by adjusting your tax withholding. The more allowances you claim, the less tax will be withheld. For help figuring out how many allowances to claim, see IRS Publication 919, How Do I Adjust My Tax Withholding?, at www.irs.gov, or use our tax-withholding calculator.

To adjust your withholding, fill out a new W-4 form (available at www.irs.gov) and submit it to your employer. The change should be reflected in your next paycheck.

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