The government shutdown has affected many federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service. It is estimated that only about 10% of the IRS employees are currently working. This has caused some questions among taxpayers about whether or not their tax returns need to be filed by October 15th. The government shutdown and the decrease of IRS employees will not affect the upcoming tax deadline. All taxpayers who requested a six month extension by April 15 will still have to file their tax returns by October 15th.
Having a decrease in employees due to the shutdown will affect other areas of tax filing. It is recommended that you file your tax return electronically because most of these will be processed automatically. If you paper file, nothing will be done with your return until the shutdown ends, but it still needs to be postmarked by the October 15th or it will be considered late. If you do paper file, it is good idea to send your return using Certified Mail to have proof that you sent your return in by October 15th.
The government shutdown has caused much frustration for taxpayers. This is mostly true for taxpayers expecting a refund. Even if your tax return is filed on time, no refunds will be issued until the government shutdown ends and operations return to normal. However, if you owe money it still needs to be paid when you file. The “IRS Where’s My Refund?” function will not be available to anyone who filed their tax return after the start of the government shutdown until the shutdown ends.
Also there is not much happening in regards to tax assistance from the IRS. There is no one working the telephone customer service lines and the IRS’s walk-in taxpayer assistance centers are closed. However, the automated assistance line is still open.
So get your tax return filed by October 15th, and hopefully for everyone waiting on a refund or trying to resolve an issue with the IRS, the government shutdown ends soon.