United States

IRS government filing season shutdown contingency plans

TAX ALERT  | 

On Jan. 15, the IRS released its Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan for the tax year 2018 filing season. That plan updates the previously released version that detailed what taxpayer services were available during the non-filing season. Please see our alert regarding the non-filing season contingency plan for more information about excepted and non-excepted IRS functions.

Based on the previous contingency plan, only approximately 12 percent of the IRS workforce was deemed excepted and needed to work. Under the filing season plan, more than 57 percent, 46,052 total employees, of the IRS workforce is no longer furloughed and is expected to work. The vast majority of those employees, 30,481, work in the IRS’s submission processing centers and account management centers. The functions of those employees include processing tax returns and Form 1040X remittances and refunds.

The services newly available for filing season are exempted from the shutdown because they are a function based on authority necessarily implied by the specific terms of duties that have been imposed on the agency. These services are necessary for the payments of refunds. They include:

  • Processing electronic returns through issuances of refunds
  • Processing paper refund tax returns through issuance of refunds
  • Processing 1040X, Amended Refund Returns, adjustments including carrybacks, amend returns, duplicate filed returns, correspondence, injured spouse claims, disaster claims, processing Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement, in support of issuing refunds
  • Processing Department of Defense claims for refunds
  • Manual refund support
  • Document preparing, screening and control of work in Image Control Team

Currently, the IRS is not answering customer service calls, but the IRS will be adding staff to answer some telephone lines in the coming days. The IRS warned that callers should expect longer wait times than normal. It is unclear at this time which lines the IRS will answer.

Services that will remain furloughed include:

  • Processing non-disaster relief transcripts
  • All audit functions, examination of returns, and processing of non-electronic tax returns that do not include remittances
  • Non-automated collections
  • Taxpayer appointments with examiners, Collections, Appeals, Taxpayer Advocates
  • In-person services at taxpayer assistance centers
  • Processing applications or determinations for tax-exempt status or pension plans

It is uncertain how long the shutdown will last. Once appropriations are passed and signed into law, IRS personnel will report to work no later than four hours after notification if it occurs on a weekday or the next regularly scheduled business day. RSM will monitor the situation and provide timely alerts on the status of taxpayer services.

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