The Government Shutdown and the IRS

October 4, 2013

Employees Get Furloughed but the Tax Law Goes On!

When the government shut down on October 1st, the IRS, along with most federal government agencies, temporarily shuttered activities, waiting for either an appropriation bill or a continuing resolution to emerge from Congress.  With 91% of the IRS’s 95,000 employees on furlough, you may be asking yourself, how does this impact me as a taxpayer?

Filing and Payment Deadlines Have Not Changed

All taxpayers, including individuals, businesses, and nonprofits need to continue to file and pay taxes based on existing deadlines.  All deadlines remain unchanged by the shutdown, including the October 15th deadline for extended returns.  Both e-file and paper returns will be accepted by the IRS; however, paper returns will not be processed until after IRS employees return to work.  Failure to file or pay in a timely manner could result in penalties.

Taxpayer Assistance Will Be Very Limited

With no employees available, all live taxpayer assistance, including telephone support and taxpayer service centers, will be closed.  Automated phone support is still operational and available to provide information on specific topics.

Audits and Examinations are Postponed Until Further Notice

Any appointment-related to examinations, appeals, or collections have been cancelled and will be rescheduled to a later date.  Automated notices will continue to be generated, but no one will be available to process responses until employees are authorized to return to work.

Tax Refunds Will Not Be Issued

In spite of the fact that payment and filing deadlines have not been extended or postponed, no request for refunds will be processed during the shutdown. Refunds will be issued once normal operations resume, but expect delays as there will likely be a significant backlog of returns to be processed.

The IRS has released a contingency plan that will take effect if the shutdown lasts longer than five days.  Full details of that plan are available here.

For further information, please call your Aronson tax advisor or the Aronson Tax Services Group at 301.231.6200.