The delay was caused by the prolonged tax fight in Washington D.C. during the fiscal cliff negotiations. Even though politicians came to an agreement in the beginning of January it delayed the IRS from preparing for the upcoming tax season.
The delay is expected to push back people's returns for at least several days if not weeks. Some tax credits for things like education won't even be processed until mid February even if you file right now.
Local tax preparers even had to take extra training to make sure they knew all the new deductions and codes. Thankfully for most people many of the deductions from last year will still be around.
Those who E-File can expect their returns anywhere from 8 to 21 days with tax professionals estimating returns on the later end. Those who send in forms by mail can expect to wait anywhere from 8-10 weeks.