As we approach the end of September, the possibility of a government shutdown looms large, and the Internal Revenue Service is making preparations for the potential impact on its operations. Below is a summary of the IRS’s contingency plans and what taxpayers can expect in the event of a government shutdown.
Government Shutdown: A Looming Threat
If Congress fails to reach a short-term agreement to fund the government by the end of September, a government shutdown is likely to occur. The IRS, like other federal agencies, is not immune to the consequences of such an event.
IRS Contingency Plans
To mitigate the potential disruption caused by a government shutdown, the IRS has been developing contingency plans. While it was initially believed that the agency could continue its operations thanks to funds allocated through the Inflation Reduction Act, recent reports indicate a change in strategy.
The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents IRS employees, has suggested that the IRS is working on a new contingency plan that includes furloughing some of its workforce. While the full scope of this plan is yet to be disclosed, it raises questions about how IRS services will be affected.
Impact on Taxpayers
So, what does this mean for taxpayers? In the event of a government shutdown, several key IRS functions may be affected:
- Delayed Refunds: Taxpayers who file paper returns will likely experience delays in receiving their refunds. Even electronic filers may encounter delays if their returns require further processing.
- Backlog Increase: The IRS has been grappling with a backlog of tax returns, with 2.6 million returns pending at the end of the 2023 filing season. A shutdown could exacerbate this backlog, further delaying tax processing.
- Filing Deadlines: It’s essential to note that filing deadlines for certain entities remain unchanged. Calendar-year individuals and C corporations with filing extensions must still file their 2022 returns by October 16, and tax-exempt organizations with extensions must file by November 15. Employers must also meet their Q3 employment tax deadlines by October 31, 2023.
As the deadline for a government shutdown approaches, the situation remains uncertain. While federal agencies have backup plans in place to maintain essential services, there will undoubtedly be impacts on federal employees and the American public. In the coming weeks, taxpayers should stay informed about developments in the IRS’s contingency plans and be prepared for potential disruptions to IRS services. O’Neil Cannon will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.
For questions or further information relating to the potential government shutdown’s impact on the IRS, please contact Britany E. Morrison.