Accountants Community Home Page

2014 tax season to be delayed

Issue Number:    IR-2013-82 Inside This Issue

2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume

WASHINGTON–The Internal Revenue Service today 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. 

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4. 

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,” 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 April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. However, the IRS reminds taxpayers that anyone can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return. The request is easily done with Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper.

IRS 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. 

The IRS continues resuming and assessing operations following the 16-day closure. The IRS is seeing heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners.

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 IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on whenever possible.

“In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the impact of the shutdown on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to work through the backlog and pent-up demand,” Werfel said. “We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and the tax professional community during this period.”

    I think it's a bunch of BS- just an excuse so that they can try to get their ducks in a row and hold on the the early EIC money a little longer.
    • I agree 100% with this.

      EDIT:  How funny.  When I tried to mark IRMN and Tilt's answers as helpful, I got an error.  Intuit strikes again. EDIT Again:  Never mind.  It took this time.  God, I'm tired!
    • Apparently we have at least two lurkers who are IRS spies.
    • Maybe they have a large portion of their retirement portfolio invested in IRS stock.
    • You noticed.  You can't even give an opinion around here without someone thinking it's wrong.
    • Don't know why anyone would vote your answer as not helpful, because it's exactly right!  Is anyone else wishing it was April 16th right now?
    • Ah, but see Lynn, you don't understand.  There is an ever increasing number of people in this country (and on this forum) who can have an opinion but you better not have one that disagrees with them.  The behavior police started before the change in forums and they did not like anyone who had an opposing opinion from theirs.  They just choose now to remain anonymous and mark answers as unhelpful.
    • I don't know why anyone would ever dream of marking answers as unhelpful without providing a helpful answer themselves.  I wonder if someone should tell the folks at Intuit that their system is being abused by unhelpful people which creates a hostile work environment which creates multiple lawsuits for the employer.  Oh wait, nobody gets paid here so we are forced to work in a hostile environment.  Maybe we need to start getting hostile ourselves.  Now that I think of it, it's been awhile since I threatened to break out the pitchforks and torches to properly storm the Intuit Ivory Castle.  Now that I think of it, I forgot where I stored all of that stuff.  If anybody happens to come across my pitchforks and torches please let me know.  I'm willing to pay a lot of useless Intuit points to anybody that can lead me to my stuff.
    • >>>so we are forced to work in a hostile environment<<<

      Forced?  That might be a stretch.  Oh wait, that would be on the rack.  Since I can't post a pic without it being an answer this is the best I can do.
    • Forget the rack, have you seen my torches and pitchforks?
    • I think I saw them under the bridge.
    • But we've had so many transactions under so many bridges, I doubt if we will be able to find the right bridge.
    • I know.  Let me think about it for a while.
    *sigh* just what I need

      Contribute an answer

      People come to Accountants Community for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

      1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
      2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
      3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
      4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
      5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.

      Similar questions other people found helpful: