The 2015 filing season is now underway and the IRS, taxpayers and tax professionals are expecting some challenges. In addition to the huge number of returns the IRS must process, the agency also must ensure that individuals are in compliance with new requirements under the Affordable Care Act and prevent the growing problem of refund fraud. The IRS has cautioned that its resources this filing season are stretched thin because of budget cuts.
As 2014 drew to a close, there was concern that the filing season would be delayed because of late tax legislation. In past years, the IRS had delayed the start of the filing season in order to reprogram its return processing systems for new tax laws. Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 in mid-December. Despite the late date of the new law, the IRS successfully reprogrammed its return processing systems in time for the filing season to open on January 20, 2015.
The IRS anticipates receiving nearly 150 million individual income tax returns in 2015. More than two out of three returns will be filed electronically. The IRS also reported that most refunds will be processed within 21 days but there will be exceptions. Individuals who file paper returns typically wait longer for refunds.
For fiscal year (FY) 2015, the IRS’s budget is $326 million less than FY 2014. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has said that the $326 million reduction will negatively impact taxpayer services during filing season. While IRS telephone assistors will be available to answer questions, taxpayers should expect lengthy wait times, Koskinen cautioned. Wait times could exceed 30 minutes. Koskinen encouraged taxpayers to use online tools, such as Where’s My Refund?, before calling the IRS. The IRS also has highlighted the work of tax professionals and the assistance they give to taxpayers.
For assistance in preparing your personal, corporate, or partnership tax returns, please click here to contact our tax professionals, or call 315.422.1391.