How the Government Shutdown Affects the IRS


IRS building

As a result of the House and Senate failing to agree on and pass a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded, the government shut down on October 1, 2013. However, all tax law still remains in effect. That means taxpayers must continue to meet their tax obligations and filing requirements.

Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS as they are required to do so by law. Individuals who requested an extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013.

The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time. All other tax deadlines remain in effect, including those covering individuals, corporations, partnerships, and employers. The regular payroll tax deadlines remain in effect as well. Penalties and interest still apply for all late filings not received by the regular deadlines.

The United States Postal Service is operating during the shutdown and they will postmark and deliver mail to the IRS. Any return postmarked by the due date will be considered timely filed by the IRS even though processing of the return may not occur until after the return due date depending on the length of the lapse in appropriations.

It is important to note that the live telephone customer service assistance will not be available. However, most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain operational. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.

While the government is closed, people with appointments related to examinations (audits), collection, appeals or taxpayer advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. IRS personnel will reschedule those meetings at a later date.

Automated IRS notices will continue to be mailed. However, the IRS will not be working any paper correspondence during this period.

Transcript requests from third parties require actions by IRS employees, who are not available due to the current lapse in government appropriations. During this period, transcript requests by third parties, such as financial institutions, cannot be processed through the Return and Income Verification Services and Income Verification Express Service. These processes are not automated. However, individuals requesting their own transcripts can use the automated process at IRS.gov, which remains available.

Disclaimer: The items included in the Tax Tip Tuesday Video Blog are informational only and are not meant as tax advice. Consult with your tax advisor to determine how any item applies to your situation. IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. federal tax advise contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

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