Tag Archives: Government shutdown

Tax season is here

December 30 2018

Despite the ongoing government shutdown, tax season is essentially upon us.  If not resolved, the shutdown could delay the official start of tax season, as defined by the date the IRS begins accepting and processing tax returns.

But even though the government may allow themselves to ignore their responsibilities, that privilege does not apply to me and you my friends.  So in the interest of helping you make sure you timely fulfill your tax filing obligations I call your attention to this list of items to bring to your tax appointment. It’s an oldie but a goody.

Otherwise there is not much more you can do right now.  However, you need to be aware that the TCJA (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) has imposed substantial changes on the tax system.  Everything from the look of the tax forms to the way claiming your dependents impacts your refund has changed.  Almost everything will be different.  So if you are one of those people that just kind of copies everything from last years return onto the current years return, that won’t work this year.

We are here to help.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288.  We will be glad to answer your questions free of charge.

2014 Tax Season to Start Late Following Government Closure

October 22, 2013

WASHINGTON–The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.

The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.

About 90 percent of IRS operations were closed during the shutdown, with some major workstreams closed entirely during this period, putting the IRS nearly three weeks behind its tight timetable for being ready to start the 2014 filing season. There are additional training, programming and testing demands on IRS systems this year in order to provide additional refund fraud and identity theft detection and prevention.

“Readying our systems to handle the tax season is an intricate, detailed process, and we must take the time to get it right,” Werfel said. “The adjustment to the start of the filing season provides us the necessary time to program, test and validate our systems so that we can provide a smooth filing and refund process for the nation’s taxpayers. We want the public and tax professionals to know about the delay well in advance so they can prepare for a later start of the filing season.”

The IRS will not process paper tax returns before the start date, which will be announced in December. There is no advantage to filing on paper before the opening date, and taxpayers will receive their tax refunds much faster by using e-file with direct deposit. The April 15 tax deadline is set by statute and will remain in place. However, the IRS reminds taxpayers that anyone can request an automatic six-month extension to file their tax return. The request is easily done with Form 4868, which can be filed electronically or on paper.

IRS processes, applications and databases must be updated annually to reflect tax law updates, business process changes, and programming updates in time for the start of the filing season.

The IRS continues resuming and assessing operations following the 16-day closure. The IRS is seeing heavy demand on its toll-free telephone lines, walk-in sites and other services from taxpayers and tax practitioners.

During the closure, the IRS received 400,000 pieces of correspondence, on top of the 1 million items already being processed before the shutdown.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to wait to call or visit if their issue is not urgent, and to continue to use automated applications on IRS.gov whenever possible.

“In the days ahead, we will continue assessing the impact of the shutdown on IRS operations, and we will do everything we can to work through the backlog and pent-up demand,” Werfel said. “We greatly appreciate the patience of taxpayers and the tax professional community during this period.”

Tax On Wheels, LLC is available to assist you with tax questions or concerns 365 days a year.  You can reach us at 803 732-4288.

What the government shutdown does NOT mean

The government shutdown does not mean you get out of paying your taxes.  All payments are due in full on their regularly scheduled dates.  While it might be nice if no taxes were collected during the shutdown, unfortunately it simply does not work that way.

It’s enough to make you think they are just yanking our chains.  Cue the official IRS statement:

Due to the current lapse in appropriations, IRS operations are limited. However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.

Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do so by law. The IRS will accept and process all tax returns with payments, but will be unable to issue refunds during this time. Taxpayers are urged to file electronically, because most of these returns will be processed automatically.

No live telephone customer service assistance will be available, however most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain operational. IRS walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.

While the government is closed, people with appointments related to examinations (audits), collection, Appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. IRS personnel will reschedule those meetings at a later date.

Automated IRS notices will continue to be mailed.  The IRS will not be working any paper correspondence during this period. Here are some basic steps for taxpayers to follow during this period.

How does this affect me? 

  • You should continue to file and pay taxes as normal. Individuals who requested an extension of time to file should file their returns by Oct. 15, 2013.
  • All other tax deadlines remain in effect, including those covering individuals, corporations, partnerships and employers. The regular payroll tax deadlines remain in effect as well.
  • You can file your tax return electronically or on paper –– although the processing of paper returns will be delayed until full government operations resume. Payments accompanying paper tax returns will still be accepted as the IRS receives them.
  • Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.
  • Tax software companies, tax practitioners and Free File will remain available to assist with taxes.

What IRS services will be available?

  • For taxpayers seeking assistance, only the automated applications on the regular 800-829-1040 telephone line will remain open.
  • The IRS website, www.IRS.gov, will remain available, although some interactive features may not be available.
  • The IRS Free File partners will continue to accept and file tax returns.
  • Tax software companies will continue to accept and file tax returns.

Tax On Wheels, LLC is open and available to assist you.  Please contact us at 803 732-4288 if we can help you in any way.