WASHINGTON, D.C. – Americans can expect delays in processing their Federal Tax Returns for the second year in a row. That's because the Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season.
The IRS said in release that the agency is exploring options to shorten the expected delay 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, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS said it would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28 and no later than February 4.
The IRS blames the federal government shutdown for the delay because it "... 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."
During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown.
“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 said it will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. There IRS said that 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 April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place.