IRS Strategy: What Does the Government Shutdown Mean for Your Tax Responsibilities?

As you know, the US government is currently in the midst of a partial “shutdown.” One of the many governmental agencies impacted by the shutdown is the IRS. In fact, according to CNN, over 90% of IRS employees are currently not working due to the shutdown.

So what does this mean for your tax responsibilities? A recent CNN reports addresses several common questions:

If you were thinking that the government shutdown meant you would get out of paying your taxes, think again.

While only 9% of Internal Revenue Service employees — roughly 8,750 out of nearly 95,000 workers — are currently working, the underlying tax law remains in effect.

Here are some other things you need to know about your taxes and the IRS during the shutdown:

Will I still have to meet the October 15 deadline?

Yes. Regular filing deadlines will remain in effect during the shutdown. So anyone who requested an extension on their taxes last spring should still file their returns by October 15.

The IRS is urging individuals and businesses to file their tax returns electronically because those returns are usually processed automatically. Paper returns will not be processed until full government operations resume. Yet, they still must be postmarked by October 15 to be considered filed on time.

That means I’ll get the tax refund I’ve been waiting for, right?

Wrong. While tax returns and payments are still expected to be filed during the shutdown, refunds won’t be issued until operations return to normal, the IRS said. 

In other words- yes, you still owe the IRS money and are expected to pay, despite the shutdown. But if the IRS happens to owe you money… well, you’ll have to wait until the shutdown is resolved. This doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who are familiar with the IRS, but it is another reminder of how one-sided the agency can be.

The bottom line, for tax purposes, is that nothing significantly changes during the shutdown. As much as we may wish that the shutdown was a “Get Out of Jail Free” card for taxpayers, that isn’t the case. If you’d like to learn more, or if you need help resolving an IRS dispute, please get in touch with us today!