Government shutdown's effect on taxes

Oct 7 2013 - 11:25am

Images

The sun rises behind the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. Locked in a deepening struggle with President Barack Obama, the Republican-controlled House approved legislation early Sunday imposing a one-year delay in key parts of the nation's health care law and repealing a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a partial government shutdown in a few days' time. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The sun rises behind the White House in Washington, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013. Locked in a deepening struggle with President Barack Obama, the Republican-controlled House approved legislation early Sunday imposing a one-year delay in key parts of the nation's health care law and repealing a tax on medical devices as the price for avoiding a partial government shutdown in a few days' time. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In connection with the government shutdown, the IRS released an update on their operations.

"Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume," said the IRS.

It was noted that electronic filing will continue to be processed. However, the "Where's My Refund," which provides information regarding the processing of tax returns including refunds, is currently unavailable.

"Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do so by law," said the IRS. "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."

During the government shutdown, there will be no live telephone customer service assistance. However, most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain in operation. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.

While federal government offices are closed, people who have appointments with the IRS related to examinations and audits, as well as tax collection, appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are canceled.

IRS personnel will reschedule the meetings at a later date once the government shutdown ends. It is important to note that the IRS computer systems will continue to mail out automated notices to taxpayers. This means that liens or levy notices may come as these are generated automatically. This will make it difficult to resolve tax issues.

Hopefully, as this is beyond the taxpayer's control the IRS will take this in consideration if deadlines pass during the shutdown. It is recommended that all correspondence sent to the IRS be sent certified mail with receipt to provide documentation of timely sent correspondence for those currently working under deadlines.

The IRS provided some basic steps to follow during this period:

* Continue to file and pay taxes as normal. Individuals who have 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.

* Taxpayers can file their tax returns 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.

A number of IRS services will remain available, but in a limited way. For taxpayers and preparers seeking assistance, only the automated applications on the regular 1-800-829-1040 telephone line will remain open.

Let's hope the government shutdown is quickly resolved for taxpayers waiting on refunds and those trying to handle issues with the IRS.

Tracy Bunner is an enrolled agent and tax preparer with an office in Harrisville. She can be reached at 801-686-1995 or at tracystaxservice@yahoo.com.

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