IRS Announces Shutdown of Tax Agency During Budget Battle

The IRS today issued the following important announcement concerning its operations during the lapse in budget appropriations for the agency by Congress.  Importantly, the IRS advises that all taxpayers must continue to meet their tax filing and payment obligations, but that scheduled meetings and calls with IRS representatives, including audits and meetings with IRS collection officials, are cancelled during this appropriation lapse period.  It is recommended that the IRS website, www.irs.gov, be consulted for further announcements.

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 Washington, D.C.
October 1, 2013 

“IRS Operations During The Lapse In Appropriations

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.

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.”

About the Author

Erik P. Doerring
Erik leads the firm's economic development and tax practices. He is a business lawyer, with the skills of a tax litigator. Prior to joining McNair, Erik was an attorney with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel and the U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division.