The IRS issued a news release on October 22, 2013 announcing that, as a result of the 16-day government shutdown, the agency will delay the start of the 2014 tax filing season by one to two weeks. The news release, available here, provides that the IRS will begin accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than January 28, 2014 and no later than February 4, 2014, a one to two week delay from the original start date of January 21, 2014. The release states that the exact start date will be announced in December 2013 and that there is no advantage to filing a paper tax return before the opening date. Rather, the agency encourages taxpayers to e-file their tax returns and request to receive their refunds by direct deposit, stating that such taxpayers will “receive their tax refunds much faster.” Notably, the news release confirms that the April 15, 2014 filing deadline for 2013 tax returns, set by statute, will remain in place. Taxpayers may request an automatic six-month filing extension by filing a Form 4868 with the IRS on or prior to April 15, 2014.
Although the IRS resumed operations on October 17, 2013 (see prior post here), the agency is still continuing to assess the impact of the shutdown on its operations. Taxpayers should be mindful of the IRS’ request in the news release to wait to call or visit the agency if a tax issue is not urgent.