No We Can't Help You – IRS Amid the Government Shutdown

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A note to tax-exempt nonprofits: Don’t expect any answers, assistance, or audits from the IRS these days, at least until after the federal government shutdown ends. The IRS is officially unavailable for phone calls, such as to check on pending IRS Form 1023 or 1024 applications for tax-exempt approval. Likewise, the IRS will not be issuing any correspondence or responding to written inquiries. So no audits, but no help either.

Only “essential” employees are staffing the IRS, such as for activities to protect government property, to proceed with criminal investigations, to keep computer systems running. Once the government shutdown ends (and hopefully soon), expect further delays as the IRS gears back up and addresses the inevitable backlog of tax-exempt cases and correspondence.

In the meantime, taxpayers should make any payments and submissions due to the IRS per the deadlines given prior to the December 2018 government shutdown. In addition, taxpayers with existing deadlines should not expect any extensions, since no one is available to process them.

Politics of course dominate the federal shutdown. Personally, taxpayers might be interested in President Trump’s announcement that the IRS will process and pay taxpayer refunds during the government shutdown. Technically, the money is available for refunds but not for IRS personnel to process them. Some opposing legislative leaders are thus voicing objections to the legality of such action, with further political moves sure to follow.