WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service announced Wednesday a one to two week delay to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.
The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and plans to announce in December a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season, according to a news release from the IRS.
The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21; with the delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.
About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, according to the news release. 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 will not process paper tax returns before the start date announced in December. The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place; taxpayers can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return with Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper, according to the news release.
During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown. The agency is seeing heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners, according to the news release and encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent.