The Government Shutdown: What Taxpayers Need to Know

Posting by Billy Thomas

UPDATE: With the end of the government shutdown, the IRS has resumed operations and is processing tax returns received since 10/1, as well as refunds. They have begun to respond to correspondence and requests, but do expect initial delays, as well as high call volumes.  For additional information on the transition and any associated delays, visit the IRS website.

With the government shut down, IRS operations are limited; according to its contingency plan, the IRS will only keep about 9% of employees on the job. So, what does this mean for you, the taxpayer?

Deadlines Have Not Changed
Individuals and businesses need to continue to file tax returns and make deposits. All tax deadlines for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and employers remain in effect, as do regular payroll tax deadlines. If you have returns due by October 15, 2013, you will still need to file by that date.

You may file via paper or electronically, but the IRS is encouraging electronic filings, since most of those returns are automatically processed.

Tax Refunds
Regardless of the deadlines, the IRS cannot guarantee a timely refund. Refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.

Taxpayer Assistance
Taxpayer assistance will be significantly cut during the shutdown. There will be no live telephone customer service (although automated toll-free numbers are still operational), and walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed. You may still consult with any non-IRS tax professional, such as your accountant, regarding tax matters.

The IRS will not be conducting audits during the shutdown. You should assume that any appointments related to examinations/audits, collection, Appeals or Tax Advocate cases are cancelled, and expect that the IRS will reschedule them at a future date.

The IRS has released a contingency plan that explains what will happen if the shutdown lasts five days. Additional details will be discussed and operational resources will be adjusted should the shutdown last longer.

If you would like full details, please click here to review the IRS Shutdown Contingency plan, and stay tuned to this blog for updates.


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