The IRS recently announced the 2014 filing season will open on January 31, 2014 for individuals –– it opened on January 13, 2014 for most businesses, estates, and trusts. The January 13th start date does not apply to unincorporated small businesses that report income on Schedules C, E, or F on Form 1040. Business returns the January 13 start date applies to include, but not limited to, Forms 1120, 1120S, 1065, and 1041. The January 31st start date for individual returns applies to both electronically-filed and paper-filed returns. There is no advantage to filing paper returns prior to the start date as individual returns will not be processed until January 31.
The start of filing season for individuals is a 10-day delay from the originally planned opening date of January 21 due to the recent government closure. This 2014 date is one day later than the 2013 filing season opening, which started on January 30, 2013. The delayed opening date allowed the IRS to test its tax processing systems which was set back during the government shutdown. Additionally, in October 2013, the IRS experienced nearly a 90 percent reduction in operations, which is the peak period for prepping systems for the 2014 filing season.
The April 15 tax deadline will not be altered. Therefore, taxpayers and tax professionals can expect challenges comparable to those experienced in the previous year. The IRS has noted a few methods available to help prepare for the 2014 tax season and to receive refunds as early as possible. Options include using the e-file method and having direct deposit.