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Delay of 2014 Tax Preparation Season Start Date Likely

The IRS warns it may have to delay the start date for the 2014 tax preparation season by up to two weeks because of last October’s federal government shutdown.


The original start date to file 2013 tax returns was January 21, 2014. The IRS predicts it will now have to delay the start date at least one week to January 26th, but may even have to delay the season an additional week until February 4th.

The start date is the first day the agency officially begins processing tax returns.  A delay in processing can cause a delay in refunds as well as an overall processing backlog by tax preparers.  That eventually trickles down to taxpayers.

Yet, taxpayers will not be given extra time to file their returns.  The filing deadline for individual federal income tax returns remains April 15th.

The opening of the last tax season in January of 2013 was delayed due to the controversial late passage of the 2012 tax bill (mid-January) which not only caused a slowdown in processing tax returns, but also a problem with providing necessary business tax forms so that businesses could file accurate and timely returns.

This year, IRS officials blame the 16-day government closure because it occurred “during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season.”  Some analysts claim the agency is also suffering additional technical problems due to programming issues related to the Affordable Care Act known as Obamacare.

More than 50 IRS systems will be used to process what’s expected to be approximately 150 million 2013 tax returns.  Each system is re-programmed annually with new tax data and must be tested.  Employees must also be trained.

The shutdown last month has already caused a delay in the processing of nearly $4 Billion in tax refunds associated with 2012 income tax returns.

The IRS is also still making up for lost time in responding to questions from taxpayers and tax preparation professionals.  During the shutdown the IRS said it received an estimated 400,000 letters, tax forms and other documents that could not be processed until employees were able to return to work. 

Meanwhile, McRuer CPAs will keep a close watch and bring you the most updated information on how the late start date may affect both individual and business taxpayers.


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