The government shutdown enters its second week today, and it is getting dangerous close to infringing on tax season.
CPA Kim Ford, a partner at the local firm of Hill and Ford, says, as usual, the feds have fixed things in their favor.
"If tax is due, the tax payments have to be made, but here's the kicker...if they have a refund coming, they're not going to get it while the government is shut down."
Anybody who asked for an extension to file their taxes last April has to file by October 15th. That is getting dangerous close, and Ford says the government shutdown won't affect that deadline.
"Only about 9% of IRS employees are working," she says. "But I'll bet you that the people who are in charge of taking your check and putting it in the bank are among that 9%."
She says the government shutdown has eliminated all of the individuals at the IRS who answer questions and provide taxpayers, and tax preparers, with the information they need to file returns. IRS walk in taxpayer assistance centers are also closed, and any Taxpayer Advocate meetings will be cancelled.
She says there is some good news. She says anybody who got a notice of audit or a notice that they owe back taxes will have that process placed on hold, at least until after the shutdown.
"If you have received an IRS notice that has a due date on it that says...you have to contact the IRS by this date, there's no one there to take your call."
But, amazingly, those notices are still being mailed out, generally on an automated bases, and are still landing in taxpayer mailboxes. The IRS web site is still operating, although some 'interactive features' may not be available.
And Ford says even if the government shutdown ends this week, which at this point does not seem likely, the mess will continue long enough that it could begin to affect end of year tax issues.
"Think about how much stuff piles up on your desk if you're on vacation for just a few days," she says. "Once the IRS workers get back, it's going to be an amazing mess, because they have so many days of work that are still piled up on their desk."