On October 15, 2013, the millions of taxpayers who filed extensions were required to file and pay their tax return, even with the partial federal shutdown. For those due a refund, you’ll have to wait. The IRS will not be issuing refunds during the shutdown.
In addition, the IRS has no taxpayer service workers who are answering phones. This basically means that if you have questions, concerns or problems you will not be able to contact them. They had originally intended to keep the National Taxpayer’s Advocate employees on, but at the last minute this was revised and the decision was made to furlough the NTA staff. This has left taxpayers basically defenseless against the IRS.
Some of the taxpayers who have felt this the most are those that were issued levies and liens, particularly levies. Once the federal government went into “complete shutdown” the automated collection system computers stopped issuing levies and liens. That has not helped those whose accounts were levied or who were sent notices immediately before the shutdown nor those who received computer generated notices after the shutdown. (The IRS typically forwards lien and levy notices to allow for mailing time)
In answers to the RMT Parliamentary Group, the Government claims that: “Seafarers that claim SED each year are likely to be able to add work done before COVID-19 restrictions to their previous eligible period, and so are unlikely to lose their SED entitlement.” This is totally at odds with what members are telling us about the impact of Covid-19 on their eligibility for this significant proportion of their annual income.
The maritime unions have consistently raised this problem in meetings of the Department for Transport’s Maritime Restart and Recovery Group, without a satisfactory result. I have written to the General Secretary of Nautilus International to request that the maritime unions maintain a united front in demanding action from the Government to take immediate steps to tackle the issue of the seafarer earning deduction during the pandemic, which continues to undermine the incomes of Ratings and Officers, particularly in the cruise and deep sea sectors.
Typically when the IRS sends a levy notice to a taxpayer’s bank or employer, the taxpayer can argue it was a mistake or make payment arrangements to obtain an IRS levy release, but there is currently no one to call. It is possible for a bank levy to wipe out the balance in an account and for a wage levy to take up to 90% of the taxpayer’s income.
The IRS has also stated that the second, third and fourth notices before the “Final Notice of Intent to Levy” are still being generated. Taxpayers are receiving these with a demand to respond, but no one to respond to.
Taxpayers are indeed feeling vulnerable and defenseless with essentially no options for help.
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