While the government is in hiatus, what’s going on at the IRS?
Well, not a lot. As I understand it, none of the phone lines are being manned, so if you call in for any reason you wind up with the automatons handling your questions. The website is still in operation as well (at least partly). So, you may be able to do a few things, but you’re limited.
For example, if you need a transcript of a prior year’s return, I understand that you can request this for yourself – but you can’t ask your accountant or anyone else operating as POA for you to request a transcript. I’ve experienced this myself in attempting to get a transcript for a client – I was shut down. (The same individual had trouble getting a transcript for himself, as the IRS records of his address didn’t match what he was entering into the system – aren’t computers great?)
In addition, even though there’s no one working there, you’re still required to complete your necessary filings on time. For folks that filed an extension of time to file their returns in April, that means by October 15 you need to file your final return, unless you’re in a combat zone or have been affected by the flooding in Colorado (no other exceptions!).
On the other hand, don’t expect for your refund to come right away: refunds are frozen until the funding issues are sorted out. Your payments will be processed right away though, even though the returns themselves will not be processed until later.
Payroll tax deposits and quarterly filings normally due by the end of October must be done on time as well, regardless of whether the government is back in business by that time (let’s hope it is!).
Audits in progress are on hold, but the systems that generate automatic correspondence, such as delinquency notices, are still on-line and churning away. So don’t be surprised if you receive mail from your friends at the IRS.