IRS Sets the Date: Tax Season Starts Jan. 31

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The Internal Revenue Service announced today that the 2013 tax season will start on January 31, and encouraged taxpayers to e-file or use the Free File service to get their refunds more quickly.

The season had originally been slated to start on January 21, but the two-week government shutdown in October delayed the IRS’s annual programming, updating and testing of its more than 50 tax processing systems.

“Our teams have been working hard throughout the fall to prepare for the upcoming tax season,” IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement. “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.”

The IRS warned that it will not process any returns before January 31, so “there is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date.” It did note, however, that many software companies are expected to begin accepting returns in January, and would hold those returns until the IRS began processing.

The announced date is one day later than the January 30 date on which the IRS opened for tax season this year. However, when the tax season opened in 2013, the service was not ready to accept many individual tax forms due to a host of tax law changes made at the last minute by Congress.

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