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)
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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