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IRS Announces 2014 Filing Season to Begin on January 31.
(Parker Tax Publishing January 2014)

The IRS announced plans to open the 2014 filing season on January 31; no tax returns will be processed until that date. IR-2013-100 (12/18/13).

In mid-December, the IRS announced January 31, 2014, as the date it has set to open the 2014 tax filing season. According to the IRS, the new opening date for individuals to file their 2013 tax returns will allow the IRS adequate time to program and test its tax processing systems. The annual process for updating IRS systems saw significant delays in October following the 16-day federal government shutdown.

According to IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel, the late January opening gives the IRS enough time to get things right with its programming, testing, and systems validation. As a result of the government shutdown, the IRS had to change the original opening date from January 21 to January 31, 2014.

The 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on January 30, 2013, following January tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The extensive set of ATRA tax changes affected many 2012 tax returns, which led to the late January opening.

Many software companies are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on January 31. The IRS cautioned that it will not process any tax returns before January 31, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date. Taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by requesting the direct deposit option.

OBSERVATION: IRS systems, 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. The October 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 work streams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. According to the IRS, there are additional training, programming, and testing demands on its systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.

The IRS noted that the April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. However, taxpayers can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return. The request is made on Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper. (Staff Editor Parker Tax Publishing)

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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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