IRS [Internal Revenue (NO)Service]?

We tend not to think of the IRS as a service organization, at least not a service to us, the taxpayers. Instead we think of the IRS as a collection organization, one that exists to act as a millstone around our collective necks. This year, the dreaded IRS fire breathing dragon was struck down, by the blade of Government Shutdown. Some of us were hoping that this event would spark a much desired Tax holiday. Perhaps the Shutdown may spell some sort of relief for a few, but largely the respite will only mean a more difficult time dealing with income tax matters and possibly a bit slower action for those with actions in progress with the IRS. A brief rundown of effects of the government shutdown on our tax matters:

* The IRS manned (and "womaned") phone lines that provide help for taxpayers in need, operated at 50% of capacity during the shutdown. Presumably this will result in related delays in the filing and processing of the tax related tax returns. No relief for delayed filing or paying of taxes will be offered by the IRS.

* Backlog of IRS correspondence, much of which related to filing and collection of taxes soared during the shutdown and will not return to normal levels for some time. Likely the effects will include slow downs in various actions in progress at the agency.

* Refunds due to taxpayers who have filed their 2018 tax returns will likely be delayed. That will add insult to injury for many who will be receiving lesser refunds than they had expected due to the mechanics of the newly enacted Tax Cuts and New Jobs Act (Tax Reform).

* The IRS has experienced diminished capacity to handle the huge volume it traditionally faces caused by outdated systems and budget constraints. The Shutdown coming at a time of maximum activity at the IRS at the outset of the 2-3 month tax "busy" season will surely worsen the inability of the IRS to keep up with the load.

Though there still is truth to the adage that there are only two things certain in life, i.e. DEATH and TAXES, even if you don't die, you will still have to reckon with the darn taxes as usual, albeit with some time relief.

The writer of this article, Steve Masler, CPA, is available without charge to answer your questions about the above subject. Feel free to call Steve at (949)230-5829. Please note that Masler & Associates, CPAs did not shut down and will be very busy preparing and filing tax returns for its many clients in the next couple of months. New clients will be welcomed.
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