The Government Shutdown and Tax Audits


Area of Law: 

By now you would be hard pressed to not be aware of the United States Government Shutdown, which included many services, including a good 90% of the Internal Revenue Service employees. But don’t worry law cases are still being handled everywhere. However, there are a few things that could concern you around your taxes, the tax laws and what this government shutdown has forced.



Despite most of the IRS out of commission and many of their services ending for the time being, you are still required to make any payments, like those on October 15th for people that have asked for an extension on their taxes this year. If you have to make any kind of payments on your taxes at all, those will still be taken, and the IRS recommends that you use their digital submissions as they have nowhere near the man-power to cover paper submissions, which will take much longer.



Until the shutdown is resolved there won’t be any money being given back to people due to tax refunds, which means if you do file a late return, you won’t see any benefit from it, if you were expecting some money. If the shutdown continues into the next year, then there still won’t be any refunds made for 2014 either.


Tax Laws

You’ll still have to obey any laws around taxes even with the government shut down, including the very specific one in which you have to pay your taxes still. However, if you fail to follow some current tax laws, such as incorrectly filing taxes, until the shutdown ends you will not have any audit after you, in fact they have suspended even current audits going on, except possibly in the most extreme cases. That does not mean they are leaving out the filing of criminal cases against anyone not handling their taxes. This is an important distinction.



Essentially almost all assistance that would normally have been possible to obtain with the IRS is completely shut down. You can still receive help with the automated messaging system, but we all know how helpful those are. Any live assistance is shut down as there just aren’t enough people to keep up with them. This means you’ll likely have to seek any tax assistance from outside sources for the time being. 


If you’d like more information about some of the tax problems with the government shutdown you can always check the IRS site which is still kept up and offers many frequently asked questions and other sources of information you might want during this time. For now, watch those taxes!


Dave Symmonds is a tax resolution specialist and writer for Tax Relief Center, which specializes in helping tax payers find a tax attorney and other services to help them pay off tax debt.