For those of us who are entitled to get back part of our paychecks from Uncle Sam, you can expect those income tax refunds to be delayed by 10 days in 2014.

That government shut-down that you heard all about, but really may not have “felt?” Well, you’re about to feel it in the form of “hurry up and wait” when it comes to preparing your tax return. They won’t start accepting them until January 31st.

Because of the 16-day federal government shut-down in October, about 90 percent of the IRS operations were closed. It happened at the worst possible time, when they were preparing for the busy tax processing season, so they lost about three weeks of production when they test and validate their systems, and make sure all their programs are running correctly.

Add to the stress of being unable to work for three weeks the fact that there are new protocols in place to protect against refund fraud, and you’ve got some serious technological ground for these folks to cover before they can even begin to look at all the lines and dots and numbers they need to take care of before they start handing out money.

You can still prepare returns electronically. Whatever site or service you use will simply hold the return until the IRS starts accepting them on January 31st, which will then delay you getting your refund. If snail mail is your preference, sending it in before the January 31st acceptance date will not get you your money any faster. The IRS folks won’t even look at it until they are ready.

While they won’t start processing any return (whether they owe you money or not) until January 31st, the deadline to PAY what you own is still April 15th. Big shock.

For more information on tax preparation or income taxes, consult a tax professional or visit

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