So, the IRS is closed during the current government shutdown. Does that mean that you get a free pass on paying your taxes, especially if you extended to the October 15th deadline? Not exactly. Per the IRS, here is a brief summary of questions taxpayers have raised as well as their response.
What is the state of current operations?
Current 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.
Is the Oct 15 due date still in effect and should people still file?
Taxpayers should continue to file and pay taxes during a lapse in appropriations as they would under normal government operations. Individuals who requested an extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013.
Will paper tax returns be considered timely filed even though the IRS is not processing paper returns?
Yes. the United States Postal Service is operating during the shutdown, and they will postmark and deliver mail to the IRS. Any return postmarked by the due date will be considered timely filed by the IRS even though processing of the return may not occur until after the return due date depending on the length of the lapse in appropriations.
Is the IRS continuing to issue levies or liens during this period?
During the lapse in appropriations, the IRS is not sending out levies or liens – either those generated systemically or those manually generated by employees. The IRS notes that taxpayers may still receive levy or lien correspondence with October mailing dates, but those notices were printed before IRS shut down operations were fully complete. (It is standard practice for these notices to be printed with a future date to allow for mailing time to reach taxpayers.) In addition, the IRS notes that other letters related to liens and levies – such as notifications that a taxpayer could potentially be subject to a lien or a levy at a future date – continue to be automatically generated by IRS systems during the appropriations lapse. However, the IRS emphasizes that these notices are not actual levies or liens; just a notification of potential future action.