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IRS release, effects of partial government shutdown on IRS operations

Effects of government shutdown on IRS operations

The IRS today issued a release addressing the effects of the lapse in appropriations on IRS operations.


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As noted in the IRS release (January 15, 2019), most IRS operations are closed during the partial government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018. The IRS previously announced that the 2019 filing season for individual taxpayers will begin on January 28, 2019 (read TaxNewsFlash) and that the IRS began accepting business tax returns (non-1040 series) on January 8, 2019 (read TaxNewsFlash).

Today’s IRS release further notes: 

  • The IRS will accept paper and electronic tax returns, but taxpayers are urged to file electronically to speed processing and refunds.
  • Tax refunds will be paid. To expedite refunds, taxpayers are encouraged to use e-file or Free File with direct deposit to help speed refunds.
  • Taxpayers can start working on their returns in advance of the January 28 opening. Both tax software and tax professionals will be available and working in advance of IRS systems opening. Software companies and tax professionals will then submit the returns when the IRS systems open. The IRS encouraged taxpayers to file their tax returns electronically.

In explaining its limited operations during the appropriations lapse, the IRS release states that the IRS will not be conducting audits, but automated initial contact letters will continue to be mailed. There will be no collection activity except for automated collection activity. For example, automated IRS collection notices will continue to be mailed. Criminal investigation work also will continue during this period.

OIRA to continue to update regulatory review

Treasury regulations that are identified as “major” regulations are subject to review by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) before issuance, pursuant to Executive Order 13771. OIRA has updated its website with the following statement:

During the lapse in appropriations, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs is conducting review of regulatory actions that are deemed excepted activity….

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