It’s official. After Congress failed to reach an agreement, the federal government has shut down.
With any luck, it will be quick and painless. But in the interim, the country is going to be doing a bit of a shuffle, trying to figure out what’s open, what’s closed and what it all means. There’s good news and bad news for taxpayers.
The good news first: no audits! The Internal Revenue Service is suspending all audit activities while the federal government is shut down. And that’s pretty much it for good news.
Here’s the bad news: if you’re on extension, your 2012 federal income tax return is still due on October 15, 2013. And yes, the IRS will cash your check on time.
But the door doesn’t swing both ways. If you are due a refund, it will likely be delayed (the extent of the delay is largely dependent on the length of the shutdown). Walk-in assistance centers for taxpayers will be closed. Similarly, the IRS will not pick up the phones: all telephone hotlines would be closed. Only 8,752 employees (just under 10% of total IRS employees) will report for work as “excepted employees” during the shutdown. Included in the list are the Acting Commissioner; the Deputy Commissioner for Services & Enforcement; the Deputy Commissioner for Operations Support and the Chief of Staff.