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IRS Operations During The Government Shutdown

IRS Operations During The Government Shutdown

Due to the current lapse in appropriations, IRS operations are limited. However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal, according to The Internal Revenue Service. Versión en español

Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do so by law. The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time. Taxpayers are urged to file electronically, because most of these returns will be processed automatically.

No live telephone customer service assistance will 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.  The IRS will not be working any paper correspondence during this period. Here are some basic steps for taxpayers to follow during this period.

How does this affect me? 

  • You should continue to file and pay taxes as normal. Individuals who requested an extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013.
  • 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.
  • You can file your tax return electronically or on paper –– although the processing of paper returns will be delayed until full government operations resume. Payments accompanying paper tax returns will still be accepted as the IRS receives them.
  • Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.
  • Tax software companies, tax practitioners and Free File will remain available to assist with taxes.

What IRS services will be available?

  • For taxpayers seeking assistance, only the automated applications on the regular 800-829-1040 telephone line will remain open.
  • The IRS website, www.IRS.gov, will remain available, although some interactive features may not be available.
  • The IRS Free File partners will continue to accept and file tax returns.
  • Tax software companies will continue to accept and file tax returns.

IRS Q&A:

Q: Should taxpayers continue to file their return during the government shutdown?

A: Yes.  All taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. 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 have an approved extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013. 

 

Q: Will the shutdown of the government close to the Oct. 15 tax deadline result in an automatic abatement of penalties for late-filed tax returns?

A: No, as mentioned above, all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Tax returns should be filed timely.

 

Q: Will the IRS accept returns if they are filed electronically?

A: Yes, IRS' Modernized e-file system is operational and will be accepting returns during the government shutdown.  Acknowledgements will be issued for all accepted returns within the normal the 24 hour period.

 

Q: Will we still have the standard five days to correct e-file rejects?

A:  Yes, Any reject condition must be corrected and the return resubmitted within 5 days after the return due date in order to be considered timely filed.

 

Q: Will the IRS e-file help desk be available to assist in resolving the condition with a rejected return?

A: No. During shutdown we will not be providing any e-file help desk support.  However, we suspect most rejected returns can be resolved by the ERO with assistance from their client.  If so, correct the condition and resubmit the tax return as normal.

 

Q: Will the IRS process an accepted electronic return?

A: Accepted e-file returns will be processed daily.  Any return meeting exception processing criteria (error resolution, fraud filter, identity theft filter, etc.) will be held and no work will be done on those returns during shutdown.  Any return that does not require special handling will complete processing up to the point of refund issuance.  No refunds will be issued during shutdown.

 

Q: Will the IRS process a paper return?

A: No, paper returns will not be processed.  Payments received with returns will be processed and posted to the taxpayer's account but the return will not be processed during shutdown.

 

Q: Will paper returns be considered timely filed even though the IRS is not processing paper returns?

A: Yes, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is operating during the shutdown.  They will post mark 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 shutdown.

 

Q: How can a taxpayer get an answer to a tax law question during shutdown?

A: No live telephone customer service assistance will be available during shutdown. Many common tax law questions can be answered by using the Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) on irs.gov.  IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.

 

Q: How can a taxpayer get help with an account issue during shutdown?

A: No live telephone customer service assistance will be available during shutdown.    IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.  There is no other service available to assist with account issues.

 

Q: Can a taxpayer get a transcript during shutdown?

A: Yes.  The web and automated phone application to request a transcript are available during shutdown.  Transcripts will be generated automatically and mailed to the taxpayer's address of record upon successful completion of the application.  Transcripts can be expected in 5 - 10 calendar days.

 

Q: Can a taxpayer check on the status of their refund if their return was processed before shutdown?

A: Yes, most automated toll-free telephone applications and web applications will remain operational including Where's My Refund.  However, if the taxpayer receives a message on the Where's my Refund application indicating they should contact IRS Customer Service, no live telephone customer service assistance will be available.  They will need to wait until after IRS resumes operations to contact us with their question.

 

Q:  Will electronically filed returns have the same 21 day standard for payment of the refund?

A:  No.  The IRS will not issue refunds during shutdown, so some refunds may be delayed.

 

Q: Why will the IRS not issue refunds during shutdown?

A:  The Antideficiency Act generally prohibits the Government from operating during a shutdown. Some exceptions to the Act allow for limited operations.  Issuing refunds does not fall within an exception to the Act.

 

 

Source:  Internal Revenue Service at http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS-Operations-During-The-Lapse-In-Appropriations.

 

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