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2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Shut Down
(Parker Tax Publishing: October 22, 2013)

The IRS announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure. IR-2013-82 (10/22/13).

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay in starting the 2014 filing season and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was January 21. However, the IRS now expects a one- to two-week delay, meaning the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28 and no later than February 4.

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. 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, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny 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. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit.

The IRS noted that its processes, applications, and databases must be updated annually to reflect tax law updates, business process changes, and programming updates in time for the start of the filing season.

During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown. (Parker Tax Publishing Staff Writers)

Disclaimer: This publication does not, and is not intended to, provide legal, tax or accounting advice, and readers should consult their tax advisors concerning the application of tax laws to their particular situations. This analysis is not tax advice and is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer. The information contained herein is general in nature and based on authorities that are subject to change. Parker Tax Publishing guarantees neither the accuracy nor completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for results obtained by others as a result of reliance upon such information. Parker Tax Publishing assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in tax laws or other factors that could affect information contained herein.

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