IRS gives details of operations on furlough dates

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER, J.D.

To help taxpayers plan for the upcoming furlough dates on which the IRS will be closed (see “IRS Decides to Shut Down Completely on Furlough Dates”), the IRS issued a news release detailing how the shutdown days, the first of which is May 24, will affect operations (IR-2013-51). The other furlough days are June 14, July 5, July 22, and Aug. 30; one or two additional days may be added later.

All IRS operations will be closed on the furlough dates, meaning no tax returns will be processed and no tax-compliance activities will occur. Nonetheless, taxpayers should continue to comply with all return filing and tax payment due dates because none of these have been extended by the furlough. However, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge any returns that are filed electronically on a furlough date.

Taxpayers who have employment and excise tax deposits due on the furlough dates should continue to deposit them through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, which will remain in operation. In addition, the IRS is alerting taxpayers who have filing deadlines close to the furlough dates to plan ahead if they need assistance (e.g., the June 17 deadline for taxpayers abroad to file their income tax returns and the deadline for the second quarter estimated tax payment both fall on the Monday after the June 14 furlough day). 

Other deadlines that are administrative and strictly IRS related will be extended during the furlough, however. The IRS will give taxpayers extra time to comply with administrative summonses; requests for records in an examination, review, or compliance check; and document requests in a collection matter. This extension will not apply to any responses to other agencies or the courts. If the last day to respond to an IRS request falls on a furlough day, the taxpayer has until the next business day (e.g., if the last day to respond is Friday, May 24, the deadline is extended to Tuesday, May 28 (the Memorial Day holiday is observed on Monday, May 27)).

Some IRS web-based tools will be available on furlough days: the withholding calculator, the system for ordering a transcript, the earned income tax credit (EITC) assistant, the interactive tax assistant, the preparer tax identification number (PTIN) system, Tele-Tax (the recorded tax information line), and the online lookup tool for repaying the first-time homebuyer credit. The “Where’s my refund?” tool and the online payment agreement application for installment payment agreements will not be available. 

Sally P. Schreiber ( sschreiber@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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