The 2014 filing season is likely to be delayed one to two weeks to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.
A final decision will be announced 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 January 28 and no later than February 4.
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.
The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. 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.
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.
Additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems are also taking place this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.
Following the 16-day closure, the IRS has experienced heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners; however, as is always the case, we are available to answer any tax questions you may have. Don’t hesitate to call us.