Washington, D.C. – The Internal Revenue Service will open the 2014 tax filing season January 31st and encouraged taxpayers to use e-file or Free File as the fastest way to receive refunds.
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.The government closure meant the IRS had to change the original opening date from January 21st to January 31st.
Many software companies are expected to begin accepting tax returns in January and hold those returns until the IRS systems open on Jan. 31. But the IRS cautioned that it will not process any tax returns before January 31st, 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 or Free File with the direct deposit option. Access IRS Free File, which offers free online use of brand-name tax software, only at www.IRS.gov.
The April 15th 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.
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.