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Income Tax Refunds Suspended by the IRS and the Tax Court Shuts Down With Government

irs-suspended-tax-refunds-tax-court-postponed-during-government-shutdownAs a result of the struggle between Congress and the Senate over implementation of and funding for Obamacare, the IRS has placed a suspension on issuing tax refunds and the Tax Court is on hiatus.

Congress and the Senate are in a dispute over whether to delay or revoke funding for Obamacare and the US Government has shut down. Along with it, the US Tax Court has suspended all activity and the IRS has stopped issuing tax refunds. The IRS isn’t offering a specific date on which the issuance of tax refunds will resume but says it will coincide with the government returning to its regular activity.

The IRS will continue to accept all US income tax returns and process those accompanied by payments. Tax returns on which refunds are expected may be processed but no payments will be issued for the time being. This decision by the IRS DOES NOT mean you shouldn’t file your tax return as required by US law.

The IRS says it is still accepting tax returns – particularly those with payments attached. Taxpayers are encouraged to file an electronic tax return online to ensure more prompt processing and to avoid delays once the government and the IRS resume standard operating procedures. While you’re encouraged to file your US expat tax return online, you still have the option of filing a paper return.

Some important facts to consider while the IRS has placed a suspension on issuing tax refunds include: All tax deadlines remain in effect and US Persons and businesses are required to file a tax return as they would any other year. Remember, though, that while the IRS is minimizing its activity, live customer service will not be available. If you have questions about your taxes you can either get in touch with an international tax expert to see if the IRS’s automated line (800-829-1040) can help guide you in the right direction.

The Tax Court has shut down and postponed scheduled appearance dates, but anybody who needs to petition the Tax Court still needs to do so within the defined statute of limitations.

The Tax Court is not accepting online submissions, is extending due dates defined by and agreed to by the Tax Court, and is suspending all other activity while the US Government is shut down. There will be no hand delivery option of documents to the Tax Court, and individuals should mail all documents within the legal time frame to avoid future penalties. Like the IRS, the Tax Court determines deadline compliance by the USPS Postmark on correspondences.

All court due dates will be extended by a number of days equal to the length of suspended activity. In some cases, dates will be extended an additional 5 days from the date the Tax Court resumes normal operations.

Many IRS employees are negatively impacted by this indefinite furlough, and the NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union) is doing everything it can to help compensate employees and reach an end to the suspension.

The NTEU is able to do little to help government employees meet their financial obligations during the shut down, but it is trying trying to secure retroactive pay for time lost during the government-imposed furlough.

For more information on these events, read the original story at Accounting Today.


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