The IRS says it is exploring options to shorten the delay and expects to announce its final decision in December. The season was originally scheduled to start on January 21. The IRS now says it would start accepting and processing 2013 individual no earlier than January 28 and no later than February 4.
The 16-day closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the next filing season. About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown which put the agency about three weeks behind its timetable. The IRS says programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns
Adding to the workload is additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention, according to a prepared statement.