IRS not issuing liens or levies, enforcement actions limited, during shutdown

BY SALLY P. SCHREIBER, J.D.

The IRS updated its website to notify taxpayers that, during the current government shutdown, the IRS is not sending out liens or levies either generated automatically or sent by personnel. Taxpayers may still receive notices of liens or levies with October mailing dates, the IRS says, but these notices were printed before the shutdown. The IRS often prints these notices with future dates to allow them sufficient time to reach taxpayers.

In addition, IRS systems are still automatically sending out notices warning taxpayers they could be subject to a lien or levy in the future; however, the IRS notes that these are not actual liens or levies.

The IRS also announced that criminal enforcement continues as usual during the shutdown, similar to other areas of the federal government. Civil enforcement, such as seizures, is extremely limited, and will occur only when necessary to protect the government’s interest. This could happen, for example, if the expiration of the statute of limitation on collection actions is imminent.     

The IRS also used its website to remind taxpayers that the October 15 due date for 2012 individual tax returns on extension has not been extended, despite the shutdown. The IRS says more than 12 million taxpayers filed for extensions this year.

Although the IRS shutdown contingency plan was supposed to cover only the first five days of the shutdown and was due to be updated on Monday, Oct. 7, as of Wednesday the IRS had not issued any further guidance.

AICPA resource: The AICPA Tax Division has posted 16 Q&As on the impact of the government shutdown to help practitioners working to complete returns by the Oct. 15 deadline.

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

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