Officials with the Internal Revenue Service are saying that the first day people can file tax returns is the last day of January.

According to Karen Connelly, spokes person for the IRS, says that while dates fluctuate from year to year, the January 31st start day is due, in part, to the 2013 Federal Government Shutdown.

"Generally speaking, it's a week or so prior to that," says Connelly.  "Last year it was a little later because we had late-enacted tax laws.  Each year varies a little bit, this year it's a little bit later."

January 31st is also the deadline for employers to send out W-2 forms to their employees.  "You may not receive them yet," Connelly says.  "We encourage you to wait a week or so beyond that.  Obviously you can contact your employer or former employer.  A lot of times they will also provide a way for you to a way for you to get those online."

Connelly does encourage people to use E-file and Free-file, after the January 31st date, as, she says, it's the quickest way to receive refunds.  However, she adds that people thinking that anyone hoping to get ahead of the game by filing a paper return previous to January 31st will not be doing themselves any favors.  The IRS will not process those paper forms until the end of the month.

Many of the forms needed to file are available for download on the IRS website.

If you do not want to go online, tax forms can be obtained by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (1-800-829-3676), where you can arrange to have the forms sent to your home.

The IRS also has a You Tube channel with instructional videos for Do-It-Yourself tax prep.  ASL and Multilingual videos are also available.