Joseph Perry, Partner-in-Charge, Tax & Business Services, Quoted in The Long Island Business News Article "IRS Stops Tax Refunds During Shutdown"
Long Island Business News
By Claude Solnik -
That tax refund check won’t be in the mail – at least for now.
As the federal government cuts back services during the partial shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service is continuing to accept income tax filings, but is no longer issuing refunds.
The IRS reportedly furloughed about 85,000 workers, leaving it with fewer than 10 percent of its staff still on the job.
The agency said it will continue to accept and process tax returns with payments, but “will be unable to issue refunds during this time.”
“Due to the current lapse in appropriations, IRS operations are limited,” the agency said in a statement. “However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.”
Accountants said the decision to put refunds on hold could impact individuals, businesses and the nation overall.
“They’ll take your money. They just won’t send you money,” said Joseph Perry, partner in charge of tax services at Marcum. “That affects the economy.”
Most businesses filed their taxes for 2013 by the Sept. 15 extension deadline, so they are likely to have already received any refunds.
But many wealthy individuals filed later or have yet to file before the Oct. 15 individual deadline due to a Sept. 15 deadline for documents related to partnerships and S corporations.
“Those could be the people affected the most by not getting their refunds,” Perry said. “In this fragile economy, even subtle things can have a ripple effect.”
In addition to the absence of refunds, the shutdown could lead to delays for firms seeking to settle with the IRS regarding audits, which means additional interest would accrue.
The IRS also won’t provide live telephone customer service and is closing walk-in taxpayer assistance centers until full funding resumes.
The agency said most automated toll-free telephone assistance will continue.
Taxpayers with appointments related to audits, collections, appeals and taxpayer advocate cases should assume their meetings are cancelled. IRS personnel will reschedule meetings.
“Clients are going to be affected, because audits will be delayed,” Perry said. “There will be a backlog for IRS audits.”
Perry said if the shutdown lasts much longer, the agency could face pressure to close audits more quickly.
“With budgetary constraints and time-frames, the IRS has a certain amount of time to move their caseload,” he said. “They could spend less time on the audit.”
Even if delays lead to difficulties, they would only be likely to have widespread impact if the government doesn’t ramp up soon.
“If this is a short-term delay, I think it won’t create much of a problem,” Perry said. “But the longer the delay lasts, the more consequences will be felt by taxpayers.”
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