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In an issue that could draw congressional scrutiny, the IRS said it was addressing the software glitches and that delays in sending refunds to taxpayers would be minimal.

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The tax collection agency has made a big commitment to upgrading its software and has been expecting to shut down its old software system in October.”A final decision on that won’t be made until after the filing season and after we have a chance to have additional conversations with” tax return preparers, said IRS spokesman Frank Keith.

The IRS said delays in sending out refunds began in February. “There were probably several million taxpayers whose returns we took longer to process,” Keith said. But the IRS has largely caught up and the number of refunds sent out is now on a par with last year, he said.

Some tax preparers said they are facing angry customers upset by the late refunds.

The IRS had projected that taxpayers who got their 2012 electronic returns in by April 15 would get direct-deposit refunds seven to 13 days later; or 17 days for mailed refunds. That projection was expected to improve on the previous year, when direct deposit refunds went out 8 to 15 days after e-files came in; and 22 days for refund checks sent in the mail.

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