The IRS announced on Tuesday the one- to two-week delay of the start of the 2014 filing season in order to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems after the 16-day federal government shutdown.
The IRS will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December. The original start date was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would begin accepting and processing tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.
The government shutdown came at peak preparation time for the IRS, which is preparing its systems to handle the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and implementation of more than 50 IRS systems is require to handle approximately 150 million tax returns.
Approximately 90 percent of the IRS’ operations were closed during the shutdown, leaving the IRS nearly three weeks behind in its preparations to start the 2014 filing season.
“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, though the April 15 tax deadline will remain in place.