Shutdown Only Slows Down IRS

Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 07:20 PM

By Greg Richter

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At least one group is getting a break because of the government shutdown: those facing an IRS audit.

The Internal Revenue Service, already tarnished in the scandal over tea party audits, has furloughed most of the people who chase them down, so people who are delinquent in their payments are not being pursued except in "extremely limited" circumstances, Reuters reports.

The "IRS is not sending out levies or liens" during the shutdown, an agency spokeswoman said. Tax audits are suspended as well.

Criminal cases are continuing, as are "isolated instances where we need to take immediate action to protect the government's interest," IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge told Reuters.

But lest celebration of the IRS's temporary demise become too joyous, the news isn't good for everyone with tax dealings. For instance, people who were sent notices of insufficient payment before the shutdown still will receive them, and the clock starts ticking on their appeal time.

Problem is, there is no one to handle their appeals, which means they may have to spend time and money to file a lawsuit.

Many of these notices are mistakes, Forbes reports,  such as missing income reported on a 1099 or W-2. Usually, the income was reported elsewhere on the return, so there is normally no reason to go through Tax Court.

Tax refunds will not be processed during the shutdown either, Forbes notes, but and support centers are shut down, meaning no answers to your tax questions.

But tax returns are being processed, so any refunds can be sent once the government re-opens.

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