The Internal Revenue Service announced plans last week to open the 2014 filing season on Jan. 31 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.
This government closure meant the IRS had to change the original opening date from Jan. 21 to Jan. 31. The 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on Jan. 30 following tax law changes made by Congress under the American Taxpayer Relief Act.
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 IRS.gov 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.
The IRS said it will not process any tax returns before Jan. 31. Taxpayers will receive their refunds much faster by using e-file or Free 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.