IRS Activities Following the Shutdown

NSTP2019 Tax Season, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

IRS Activities Following the Shutdown

The IRS has reopened following the end of the government shutdown, and IRS employees are working hard to resume normal operations and help taxpayers as much as possible.

As the IRS resumes operations, there are some important pieces of information for taxpayers and tax professionals to keep in mind in several areas:

Audits. For taxpayers and tax professionals with questions about examinations affected by the shutdown, we have Frequently Asked Questions.

The IRS also had advice for taxpayers who had planned to send material to their IRS auditor but didn’t because of the government shutdown. The IRS recommended that If taxpayers have already assembled the requested material, they can immediately send the material to their auditor. “You may call your auditor to discuss any items on your document request if you need clarification,” said the IRS. “Your auditor will also be reaching out to you to re-establish contact in the next several business days. During this contact, your auditor will be able to answer questions you have and will address the time frame on when the requested information is due.”

Collections. For taxpayers and tax professionals with collection issue affected by the shutdown, visit the Frequently Asked Questions. This section includes information related to liens, levies, notices of deficiency, penalties, passports and private debt collection.

Appeals. Important information for taxpayers and tax professionals with cases in Appeals affected by the shutdown.

Tax Filing for Individuals. The IRS successfully opened the 2019 filing season for taxpayers on January 28. The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth tax season and minimize the impact on taxpayers.

On the question of whether failure-to-pay and failure-to-file penalties would be abated during the shutdown period, the IRS pointed out that the lapse in federal appropriations during the government shutdown didn’t affect the federal tax law. “Individuals and businesses were required to keep filing their tax returns and making payments with the IRS,” said the IRS. “Failure to pay and failure to file penalties are charged on tax from the due date of the return until the date of payment. Taxpayers who make their deposits and payments in-person at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center and were unable to do so due to the shutdown can file a request that the penalty be abated for reasonable cause.”

Tax Court. Important updated information for taxpayers and tax professionals with Tax Court cases, including mail being returned and issues with court petitions not being processed.

Taxpayer Advocate Service. All TAS offices are now open. As always, the Taxpayer Advocate Service is committed to helping taxpayers. All cases matter greatly to us and we need to make sure we are addressing the most serious cases first. Due to the prolonged government shutdown, we will need some time to sort through all of our cases, calls and faxes so that we can address the most critical emergencies first.

Please be aware that if you call our offices your call may go to voicemail. We encourage you to leave your name, phone number, case number (if applicable) and detailed information about your case. Your case is important to us and we will get back to you as soon as we are able to do so. While our response times will be longer than usual, we thank you for your patience.

TE/GE: Determination Letter and Voluntary Compliance Statement applications for retirement plans. The IRS has resumed processing these applications for retirement plans. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these applications due to the government shutdown. Please visit Tax Information for Retirement Plans for additional information.

TE/GE: Determination Letter applications for tax-exempt status. The IRS has resumed processing applications for tax-exempt status. We’re working to minimize the delays that organizations have experienced due to the government shutdown. Please see IRS Processing of Exemption Applications for any actions that you may need to take while you wait for the IRS to issue a determination.

TE/GE: Credit Payments to Qualified Bonds Issuers. The IRS has resumed processing Forms 8038-CP, Return for Credit Payments to Issuers of Qualified Bonds, for refundable credit payments on direct pay bonds. We’re working to minimize the delays in processing these forms due to the government shutdown.