Monday, October 14, 2013

Effect of Shutdown on the IRS

I am writing this as the government has reached an impasse and is shutting down. I will be on vacation when this blog article is posted so it is possible that Congress may have come to an agreement by this time and the government may be up and running again. I sincerely hope so, in which case this blog will be out of date and for that I apologize. Unfortunately, I don’t have great faith that we will be out of the woods by then so bear with me.
During this shutdown, the IRS is planning to furlough over ninety percent of its employees. That means approximately 85,000 people will have an undetermined number of days off without pay. That’s just the number of employees at the IRS. The following services/operations will be suspended as a result:
  • Examining tax returns
  • Processing tax returns except for electronic returns or returns with money attached
  • Auditing functions
  • Assisting taxpayers using call sites
  • Collections (automated collections will continue)
  • Planning
  • Training
  • Research
  • Information Systems (unless related to preservation of data)
  • Other non-essential functions
With ninety percent of the employees at home, there won’t be much of anything going on at the IRS. That said, don’t mistake that as license to avoid the October 15th deadline if you are on extension. You still must file on time to avoid penalties but the return won’t be processed until the employees are allowed to return. Let’s hope that Congress gets their politics together and makes this happen sooner rather than later.

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