Written by: Scot Smith, CPA

The IRS announced on Tuesday October 22, 2013 a delay of one or two weeks in the start of the 2014 filing season as a result of the 16-day government shutdown to allow adequate time for the IRS to prepare and test systems. The return filing start date was originally going to be January 21, 2014, but the IRS said it will now start accepting 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28 and no later than February 4. The IRS says it hopes to shorten the delay and will announce the official start date in December.

The government shutdown came at an inopportune time of year. Most of the work the IRS does to program, test, and deploy its return processing systems is done in the fall. “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,” Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, said in a news release. “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.”

Despite the delay in the beginning of filing season, the IRS also reiterated that the April 15 tax return filing and payment deadline is statutory and cannot be changed by the IRS.