The government is in shutdown mode right now, with many services being cut, and government offices closed. The IRS is one of the agencies seeing limited operations as a result of the impasse over funding the government.
But just because the IRS is shut down doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay your taxes. In fact, no matter how long this shutdown lasts, you are expected to make your tax payments as normal, and file your tax return.
October 15th, 2013 Filing Deadline
October 15 represents the filing deadline for those who have filed for an extension. If you have filed for an extension, you need to file your return by October 15, even if the shutdown hasn’t been resolved. If you currently make monthly tax payments through your business, or for some other reason, you are still expected to pay on time.
Automated processes at the IRS provide a way for some functions to continue throughout the government shutdown. If you file your tax return electronically, it will be processed by computer, as is normal. Additionally, if you have automatic payments taken from your account, or if you pay your taxes electronically, this can still be done during the shutdown.
There are plenty of automated tasks in the IRS, from automated notices to toll-free telephone applications. These are still available, but you won’t be able to get any live, individually specific help if you need it.
Canceled Tax Audits
If you have a tax audit scheduled for any time during the shutdown, the IRS expects you to understand that the meeting is considered canceled. Other meetings, having to do with tax appeals or meetings with the Taxpayer Advocate, are also canceled. Once the shutdown is resolved, the IRS will reschedule all of the meetings.
The good news is that you still have the option to meet at a time and place of your choosing. So, when it is time to reschedule your audit, it doesn’t have to be particularly inconvenient.
Expect Delays After the Shutdown
The shutdown is likely to create a backlog in work for the IRS. If you mail in your return or other information, it will sit in an office until personnel return to their jobs — at which point they will have piles of paperwork to tackle. Realize, too, that no refunds are issued during the shutdown (although refunds issued through automated processes might come through).
Other delays might also become apparent. Your tax appeal might be delayed, and you will have to wait to resolve audit issues. In the meantime, though, you are still required to make tax payments. If you end up overpaying as a result, you will have to wait until the situation is cleared up in order to sort out the difficulty.
For many taxpayers, the government shutdown is unlikely to cause a lot of problems. However, if you have been engaged with some sort of business with the IRS, or actively looking for help or answers to a difficult tax question, you will have to wait.