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IRS Delays 2014 Tax Season

Today (October 22, 2013) the Internal Revenue Service announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season.  They attributed this, in part, to the 2 week government closure and also stated that they needed more time to allow program and test tax processing systems.

They mentioned the possibility of shortening this delay, however, that seems unlikely given the track record of delays and considering the effect of the shutdown.

The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

 

The IRS provided this further explanation:

“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. 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.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Werfel said. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place.

During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown”.