Taxpayers who like to get their refunds ASAP will need a little more patience.

Thanks to the 16-day shutdown of the federal government, the IRS says that the 2014 filing season will be delayed by about one or two weeks.


The agency says it needs enough time to test its processing systems.

The season was expected to start Jan. 21.  The delay means the IRS might start accepting returns by Jan. 28 or as late as Feb. 4.

The final word on this will come out in December.  The tax deadline remains April 15.

According to the IRS:

"The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

"About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season."

Of course, the delay will disappoint early filers counting on a refund. But it may not be such a big deal for millions of others. These are taxpayers who end up filing in February or March anyway because they are waiting for supporting documents from investment firms. And, of course, there are the procrastinators who like to wait until the last possible minute to file.