IRS is part of the government shut-down

Closed for Business (IRS Shut-down)

The IRS shut-down began at the end of 2018, along with a subset of the Federal government – Executive Branch agencies that have not yet received full funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Many may not know that the IRS is part of the Department of Treasury, and Treasury is still trying to receive its full budget for FY2019.

Westward LAW tax attorney
The Department of Treasury (and the IRS) are shut-down.

The U.S. Government runs on a fiscal year, and their budgets and accounting run from October 1st through September 30th of the following year. Therefore, we are already over three months into the current government fiscal year and many of the government agencies have not been funded fully. The amounts that Congress allocated for Treasury ran out at the end of December. The IRS shut-down has presented some serious issues for the folks (taxpayers) – and for attorneys that work with the IRS to resolve taxpayer tax matters.

Tax Court is Closed

For instance, the US Tax Court is closed. We have cases on the calendar coming up in February, and it is unknown whether these will go forward or not. There is some talk of continuing these cases out, but then this adds a tremendous amount of time to the length that our clients’ cases are in litigation. It already takes up to a year to get a case into tax court, and I am guessing that a continuation will add at least six more months. You see, tax court judges travel a “circuit,” and they only come to each city in the US a few times a year. Link to US Tax Court

Nobody to Answer Questions

Another area where this shut-down is having impact is the need that tax attorneys have to discuss important client matters with the IRS. Nobody is there to answer calls, and even the fax system is at least partially shut-down. We can’t send documents into the IRS via fax at this time (at least this has been my experience). This can have negative consequences for clients, and can lead to additional costs to taxpayers when levy deductions continue for too long when they should have ended. Alas, the discussion that could solve this issue must be put off until the IRS call centers are back up and running.

Of course, there is the issue of delayed refunds being issued. I am not certain how the IRS shut-down will play out as the upcoming tax season is still a couple of weeks away. Generally, taxpayers can start filing returns on February 1st. People that expect a large refund are usually the first to line up for their refund – I hope they get it in a timely manner!!

Anyway, I hope (as I am sure that you do) that the IRS employees can get back to work soon. I know they are probably starting to miss their jobs, and I miss them being there to help out and serve the taxpayers in important financial matters that affect us all.

Mark D. Nusz is a tax attorney that works to defend taxpayers in tax controversies with the IRS. If you have a tax matter that the IRS is sending you letters about, let us give you a hand. Call (360) 899-5468 or (877) US-TAX-LAW, or visit the Westward LAW website. You may also set up an in-person consultation yourself by following the link below:

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