IRS Announces Tax Season Start Date

December 22, 2013

Filing your taxesThe IRS has announced that it will begin accepting 2013 income tax returns on January 31, 2014. Here’s what’s strange about that particular date.

A seldom-used rule.¬†There’s a way to avoid making your fourth-quarter estimated tax payment without incurring a penalty. Not many people use this escape hatch, but the tax law makes it available. Instead of paying this estimate by January 15, the normal due date, you can file your return and pay the tax in full by January 31. Do that and you’ll be excused for failing to make the January 15 estimated tax payment.

Usually, the people who are eager to file early are the ones who have overpaid and want their refunds. By definition, those people don’t have to make a fourth-quarter estimated tax payment. Few of the early filers are seeking to take advantage of this special rule.

Not much leeway. For this filing season, the last day you can file to take advantage of this rule is also the¬†first day the IRS will be accepting returns. You can mail a return before that date, of course, but if you want to file electronically (always the preferred method if available), you won’t be able to file until January 31, the deadline for filing under this rule.

  • The start of the filing season was delayed due to disruptions caused by the government shutdown.

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