Tax Filing Season Delayed Until January 31st

IRS Accepting Returns January 31st
IRS Accepting Returns January 31st

The IRS put everyone one notice not long after the end of the latest government shutdown that the 2014 tax filing season would be delayed by “1 or 2 weeks”.   Well not surprisingly, the IRS recently released that the first date that they will be accepting 2013 tax returns for processing will be January 31st:

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced plans to open the 2014 filing season on Jan. 31…

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 closure.

“Our teams have been working hard throughout the fall to prepare for the upcoming tax season,” IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said. “The late January opening gives us enough time to get things right with our programming, testing and systems validation. It’s a complex process, and our bottom-line goal is to provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers.”

The government closure meant the IRS had to change the original opening date from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31, 2014. The 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on Jan. 30, 2013, following January tax law changes made by Congress on Jan. 1 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.

The IRS noted that several options are available to help taxpayers prepare for the 2014 tax season and get their refunds as easily as possible. New year-end tax planning information has been added to this week.

In addition, many software companies are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on Jan. 31. More details will be available in January.

The IRS cautioned that it will not process any tax returns before Jan. 31, so there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date. Taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file…with the direct deposit option.

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 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. 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 is accepting 2013 Business Returns (Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, 1041, 720, 940, 941, 2290) for filing January 13th, 2014.


Government Shutdown Delays Tax Filing Season


Filing Season Delayed...AGAIN!
Filing Season Delayed…AGAIN!

Like last year, the IRS is delaying the start of tax season.  Unlike last year, the reason for the delay is the government shutdown:

Tax filing season will start one to two weeks late because of the 16-day government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday. The IRS says it needs the extra time to program and test tax processing systems. “The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season,” the IRS said in a release. “Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns.”

The government shutdown seems like an awfully convenient excuse to delay the start of the tax season. Since the explosion of identity theft over the last few years, the IRS and multiple studies have concluded that the majority of fraud like identity theft occurs at the beginning of the tax season. Therefore, by delaying the start of the tax season, the theory is that with less days to file, the less fraudulent returns the IRS will receive.  Therefore the early filers–which are usually low income taxpayers who really need their tax refunds just to live–are going to be most negatively affected by this delay.  The little guy gets the shaft once again. Oh, and by the way, tax season may be delayed by a couple of weeks, but your taxes are still due on April 15th.  Are we really surprised?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Source: USA Today

October 15th Extension Deadline

In spite of the government shutdown that has shuttered many departments in the IRS, the deadline to file tax year 2012 returns remains October 15th. That means, even though the IRS may not be able to process your return, you still have to pay your taxes on time or risk penalties and interest for failing to file.  The IRS has issued the following tips:

  • Taxpayers are encouraged to file their returns electronically using IRS e-file or the Free File system to reduce the chance of errors.
  • Taxpayers can file their tax returns electronically or on paper. Payments accompanying paper and e-filed tax returns will be accepted and processed as the IRS receives them. Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.
  • IRS operations are limited during the appropriations lapse, with live assistors on the phones and at Taxpayer Assistance Centers unavailable. However, and most automated toll-free telephone applications remain operational.
  • Tax software companies, tax practitioners and Free File remain available to assist with taxes during this period.

Many taxpayers–especially living in coastal NY & NJ–have not filed yet due to the destruction inflicted by Hurricane Sandy on property and tax records.  If you need assistance filing your tax returns, an R&G Brenner tax professional can help.

Government Shutdown Closes IRS Centers

IRS Offices Closed, But You Still Need To Pay!
IRS Offices Closed, But You Still Need To Pay!

With the failure of congress to pass a budget, 800,000 thousand workers face furloughs and a million more are working without pay.   The IRS is one of the agencies that will be closed with walk-in IRS centers shuttered and IRS Call centers closed:

The good news first: no audits! The Internal Revenue Service is suspending all audit activities while the federal government is shut down.

And that’s pretty much it for good news.

Here’s the bad news: if you’re on extension, your 2012 federal income tax return is still due on October 15, 2013. And yes, the IRS will cash your check on time.

But the door doesn’t swing both ways. If you are due a refund, it will likely be delayed (the extent of the delay is largely dependent on the length of the shutdown).

Walk-in assistance centers for taxpayers will be closed. Similarly, the IRS will not pick up the phones: all telephone hotlines would be closed.

Hopefully the budget dispute will be resolved quickly, but we are entering unknown territory as this shutdown is very different from past shutdowns, mainly because zero appropriations bills have been passed in the interim.  In other words, Republicans & Democrats can not even agree to pass the things they agree on; like paying our military service members.  This will almost certainly extend the shutdown and the pain of taxpayers trying to process their tax returns and receive their refunds.  Judging from taxpayer comments here, the IRS has not been very much help in expediting refunds or explaining delays before the shutdown.  But even paltry service is  better than no service at all….isn’t it?

Source: Forbes