The IRS has delayed the date it will start accepting tax filings by about ten days due to the 16-day government shutdown in October. The delay is necessary, the IRS states, because it needs more time to run tests on its systems. The agency is also in the middle of an overhaul to beef up security against fraudulent filings and the thieves that file fake returns for massive refunds. The original start date, January 21, would have worked if the shutdown had not impacted the agency at the height of its return-processing systems overhaul.
Many tax preparation companies will go ahead and accept 2014 tax returns at the beginning of January, even late December, and simply forward them to the IRS on January 31. The IRS has also indicated that mailing out paper returns earlier than the 31st will not speed up the process at all. So for all who are concerned that this would mean you could not start your tax return on January 1, fret not; file away at your earliest convenience!