The lapse in government funding that went effective on this first day of the government’s fiscal year has caused the IRS to put up “Closed for Business” signs. Pull up to any IRS walk-in center near you and you’re likely to see that it’s all lights-out. Only 8,752 IRS employees will be performing duties until further notice. This small number of employees could decline if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement soon, as the IRS only planned for 5 days of functioning in its FY 2014 Shutdown Contingency Plan. Should the government shut down continue, the Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support will make necessary adjustments to the IRS personnel.
Current IRS functioning is limited to services like:
- Ongoing duties that the IRS performs with and for the Social Security Administration that have not been affected by the lapse in funds.
- Designing and printing upcoming tax year forms.
- Completion and testing of the upcoming Filing Year programs
- Processing of tax returns with payments
- Processing of e-filed tax returns
- Computer operations that prevent the loss of data
- Protection of statute expiration, bankruptcy, liens and seizure cases
- Protecting Federal lands, buildings, and other property owned by the United States
- Handling budget matters related to the lapse in appropriations (using the minimum staffing needs.)
- Preventing the loss of accounting data (using minimum staffing needs.)
- Maintaining building and staff security
- Maintaining building facilities to create a safe work zone
- Using the minimum staffing needs to execute shut down like payroll, inventory, and personnel needed to secure property.
What does this mean to you?
Taxpayers are still encouraged to follow all existing tax code during the lapse in funding. This means taxpayers and businesses should be aware of the following:
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- Income tax refunds will not be processed until normal government operations resume.
- At this time, the IRS is ONLY processing electronically-filed returns. Paper mailed returns will not be processed.
- The extension filing deadline remains the same. Taxpayers that have not yet filed are expected to do so by the filing deadline of October 15, 2013, even if you are expecting a refund.
- Taxpayers and businesses that are making payments should continue to do so on time.
- You will still be charged late fees, penalties, and interest for not paying or filing on time.
- If your tax return is rejected, you still have the standard 5 days to make a correction to your tax return in order for your return to be considered “filed on time.”
Though no live IRS assistance is available for help with accounts through either the walk-in centers or the customer service line, the following IRS self-service functions are still available:
- The IRS Web site (www.irs.gov ) and the FTP site (ftp.irs.gov.)
- Web and automated phone applications (1-800-829-1040) for processing and mailing transcripts.
- IRS e-Services for Tax Professionals
Remember that the eSmart Tax Customer Support team is available to answer your questions about your return or the IRS shut down. Connect with us.
The eSmart Tax team will continue to monitor this topic and provide updates as news becomes available. Keep an eye on The Daily Deduction, eSmart Tax’s blog, for more details.