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Latest shutdown casualty: Your 2013 tax return

The IRS says the shutdown will delay the tax filing start time by at least a week, but possibly more.
IRS Shutdown
A sign is posted in the window of an IRS office in Brooklyn notifying that the office is closed due to the government shutdown on October 1, 2013 in New York City.

Count a few more victims of the government shutdown: the millions of taxpayers soon to be waiting for their tax refunds.

According to the IRS, those two-plus weeks in October when the government closed over a congressional budget impasse amounted to lost time when the bureau would normally have been busy testing and programming the tax-processing systems for the upcoming season. More than 90% of IRS employees were furloughed during the shutdown.

The IRS said it will start processing tax returns at least a week later than the planned Jan. 21 start date, and possibly as late as Feb. 4. That means tax refunds will be delayed by 1-2 weeks for millions of early filers. The tax preparation company H&R block said in a statement that an estimated 18 million people typically file a tax return in January.

Of course, there could be more of a delay if the government shuts down again over the Jan. 15 budget deadline, when the current authorization for governemnt spending runs out.