The 2014 tax season for individual taxpayers filing their 2013 tax returns opened on Jan. 31 this year, 10 days later than usual due to the 16-day federal government closure in October.

Small businesses that report their income on Form 1040 on Schedule C, Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship), Schedule E, Supplemental Income and Loss, or Schedule F, Profit or Loss From Farming, are also subject to the Jan. 31 delayed start.

The filing season for business tax returns was not delayed however, and on Jan. 13, 2014, the IRS began accepting both paper and electronically filed business and excise tax returns.

The delayed opening date allowed the IRS adequate time to program and test its tax processing systems. IRS systems, applications and databases must be updated annually to reflect tax law updates, business process changes and programming updates in time for the start of the filing season.

“The late January opening gives us enough time to get things right with our programming, testing and systems validation. It’s a complex process, and our bottom-line goal is to provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel.

More than 50 IRS systems handle the processing of nearly 150 million tax returns and updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with most of the work beginning in the fall.

In addition, 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.

No tax returns were processed before Jan. 31, so there was no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, noted the IRS in a statement, adding that taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster when they file electronically using direct deposit. Don’t hesitate to call us if you need assistance filing your tax return electronically and setting up direct deposit.

The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place; however, it is possible to request an automatic six-month extension. If you think you will need an extension to file your tax return, please contact our office. We are happy to assist you with this.

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