2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume

IR-2013-82, Oct. 22, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. 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.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Werfel said. “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. 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.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. 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.

IRS processes, 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 IRS continues resuming and assessing operations following the 16-day closure. The IRS is seeing heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners.

During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on IRS.gov whenever possible.

“In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the impact of the shutdown on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to work through the backlog and pent-up demand,” Werfel said. “We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and the tax professional community during this period.”

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions for Individuals and Families

 

The Affordable Care Act, or health care law, contains new health insurance coverage and financial assistance options for individuals and families. The IRS will administer the tax provisions included in the law.Visit HealthCare.gov for more information on coverage options and financial assistance.

Do I need to do anything right now to get ready for the changes coming in 2014?

• The premium tax credit can help make the cost of purchasing health insurance coverage through the Marketplace more affordable for individuals and families with low to moderate incomes. Learn more.
• You may have received a letter from your employer providing information about the new Marketplace, and any health insurance coverage your employer may offer. For more information about coverage options through the Marketplace, visit HealthCare.gov. If you have questions about the coverage offered by your employer, please contact your employer.

Considerations for 2013

Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace: The open enrollment period to purchase health care coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace began Oct. 1, 2013. When you get health insurance through the marketplace, you may be able to get advance payments of the premium tax credit that will immediately help lower your monthly premium. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
Filing Requirement: If you do not have a tax filing requirement, you do not need to file a 2013 federal tax return to establish future eligibility or qualify for future financial assistance, including advance payments of the premium tax credit to purchase health insurance coverage through a Health Insurance Marketplace. Learn more at HealthCare.gov.
W-2 Reporting of Employer Coverage: Certain employers are required to report the value of the health insurance coverage they provide. The value of health care coverage as reported by your employer in box 12 and identified by Code DD on your Form W-2 is not taxable.
Itemized Medical Expenses: You can deduct your unreimbursed medical and dental expenses that exceed 10 percent of your adjusted gross income on your 2013 tax return. The 7.5 percent threshold will remain for those 65 and older for tax years 2013 through 2016.
Other ACA Tax Provisions: Additional Medicare Tax, Premium Rebate for Medical Loss Ratio, Health Flexible Spending Arrangements,Health Saving Accounts, and Net Investment Income Tax.

Looking ahead to 2014

Premium Tax Credit: To claim the premium tax credit, you must get insurance through the Marketplace. You can elect to have advance payments of the tax credit sent directly to your insurer during 2014, or wait to claim the credit when you file your tax return in 2015. If you choose to have advance payments sent to your insurer, you will have to reconcile the payments on your 2014 tax return filed in 2015. Learn More.
Individual Shared Responsibility Payment: Starting January 2014, you and your family must either have health care coverage, have an exemption from coverage, or make a payment when you file your 2014 tax return in 2015. Most people already have qualifying health care coverage and will not need to do anything more than maintain that coverage throughout 2014. Learn More.
Change in Circumstances: If you are receiving advance payments of the premium tax credit to help pay for your insurance coverage, you should report changes such as income or family size to your marketplace. Reporting changes will help to make sure you are getting the proper amount of assistance.
Page Last Reviewed or Updated: 21-Oct-2013

Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions

Check out the new Affordable Care Act Tax Provisions Home Page
Información en Español: Disposiciones de La Ley del Cuidado de Salud de Bajo Precio

Update
The open enrollment period to purchase health insurance coverage for 2014 through the Health Insurance Marketplace runs from Oct. 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. If you are seeking information about how to obtain health care coverage or financial assistance to purchase health care coverage for you and your family, visit the Health and Human Services website, HealthCare.gov.

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