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IRS Delays Start of Tax-Filing Season

November 06, 2013

In light of the recent government shutdown the IRS delays tax season start date to allow for system testing.

The 2014 tax-filing season, which was scheduled to begin on January 21, 2014, will be delayed approximately one to two weeks as a result of the recently concluded federal government shutdown, the IRS announced October 22.

The agency will program and test tax-processing systems – something that could not be done while thousands of IRS employees were furloughed during the government stoppage – with their extra time.

The IRS will make their final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, announced acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel. The agency is looking into options that will minimize the delay however; a one-to two-week delay means the IRS would start processing 2013 returns no earlier than January 28th and no later than February 4th.

As of right now the starting date delay will have no impact on the deadline, which will remain April 15th. Taxpayers can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return using Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time To File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, which can be filed electronically or on paper.

The federal government shutdown occurred during the peak time the IRS uses to prepare its systems for the upcoming filing season. More than fifty IRS systems have to be programmed, tested, and deployed so they can handle the processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. 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. The IRS processes, applications, and databases must also be updated annually to reflect changes to tax laws, business processes, and programming in time for the start of the filing season.

The shutdown had a huge impact on the IRS, which was forced to temporarily close approximately 90 percent of the agency’s operations. The closing set the IRS back nearly three weeks in its timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season.

The shutdown also caused the IRS to delay Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) renewals for 2014.

Paper tax returns will not be processed before the 2014 filing season start date is officially announced, according to the IRS, which recommended taxpayers use e-file with direct deposit to receive their tax refunds more quickly.

The IRS encouraged taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on the IRS website whenever possible. For additional information about the delay or questions regarding your return, please contact any member of our Tax Services Team at 888-KLR-8557 or email trustedadvisors@kahnlitwin.com.

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