Here’s what’s up! The longest ever paid vacation for 380,000 furloughed government employees. The longest ever indentured servitude for 420,000 government employees and the Coast Guard as they work without pay. All courtesy of the longest-ever partial government shutdown. By the time you read this the shutdown will be in its 26th day far surpassing the eight-day average. And government doesn’t run on …..
REINFORCING THE BASICS.
Government is partially shutdown when nonessential offices close because they didn’t get their fiscal year budget approved by Congress. Congress has to pass all twelve spending bills in the budget before October 1st and to date they have only passed five. Us everyday folks are musing aloud – would we get paid for a job only 42% finished?
Congress had until December 21st to finish the job by either passing the remaining spending bills or pushing through continuing resolutions (CRs). CRs provide for temporary funding by usually just throwing FY19 on last year’s budget and government stays open. Congress still didn’t finish the job; nine of fifteen cabinet-level departments remain unfunded; and, here we are.
A furlough is a leave of absence without pay. Furloughs are remedied by Congressional authorization for back pay. The House has already passed legislation. No one has never not gotten paid after a partial government shutdown.
FIRST THINGS FIRST.
Monday, January 28th is still the official start of tax season. This is the first day that both paper and electronic returns will be accepted. That being said.
The Internal Revenue Service and What’s Happening.
9,946 employees are still working. These are computer system operators, criminal investigators, and protectors of federal property because our tax dollars are government property which must be safeguarded.
Apparently computers are working too. Computer-generated delinquency letters and their news of asset seizures are going out. But the live assistance telephone number tells callers: “Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service. Live telephone assistance is not available at this time. Normal operations will resume as soon as possible. … We apologize for any inconvenience.” And apparently, none of the 9,946 employees still working are answering phones.
Criminal law enforcement operations are continuing;
Upcoming filing year programs are being completed and tested;
Paper returns are being batch-processed;
Electronic returns are being processed;
Taxpayer electronic payments are being processed;
Implementation of the TCJA is running smoothly, as it is funded through September 2019.
The Internal Revenue Service and What’s Not Happening.
79,868 of employees are not at work and hopefully not watching The View. They will be even more angrier and more bitter when they return to work.
The IRS’ contingency plan was only good for five days so, they ain’t got a plan no more;
Refunds are not being issued;
Form 1040X amended returns are not being processed;
Tax returns are neither being audited nor examined;
Paper returns with payments are not being processed;
Collections aren’t being collected;
Taxpayer services are not being provided. No one will answer your call, open or read your letter, and no one will be opening the IRS office doors;
Income isn’t being verified. Income verification affects SBA, farm, and home purchase loans and home closings.
Shameless plug: At Carol McAtee & Associates we are answering your phone calls, opening your mail to us, and our doors are open to you. So make your appointment today!
The Internal Revenue Service and What Will Happen.
When the IRS gets funded, furloughed employees have four hours to get to work;
Refunds will be issued as determined by the Office of Management and Budget;
The National Treasury Employees Union and the American Federation of Government Employees, representing over 850,000 workers are suing the White House for requiring federal employees to work without pay which violates the Fair Labor Standards Act;
The Treasury Secretary anticipates 60 to 70% of taxpayer phone calls will be answered this filing season;
Payouts are expected to be 21 days for e-filed returns and 42 days for paper-file returns. This is no different from previous years. But last year, at the end of week one, 18.3 million returns were received; 136,359,149 were received by season end; and 95,451,404 refunds were issued for tax year 2017. We wouldn’t be surprised by delayed refunds and suggest we all have reasonable expectations. The earlier you file, the better.
The Internal Revenue Service and Who Knows What’s Happening.
Since both the IRS and the Treasury Department are partially shut down, how are Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTC) going to be paid? It is possible that delayed payment of APTC can result in increased premium costs or loss of coverage. Some taxpayers may have to decide between paying the unsubsidized premium and dropping coverage. We think that MarketPlace applications and plan year 2020 will also be affected because required maintenance and updating are not being done now. To keep up on this development and more, follow us and like us on Social Media.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
⇒ Refer to our December 5, 2018 blog: We Are, After All, IRS Customers
⇒ Social Security checks are going out.
⇒ Medicare and Medicaid are open.
⇒ Veterans are unaffected; as the VA is funded through September 2019.
⇒ Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation marches onward. It is not funded by Congressional appropriation.
Reach out to McAtee and Associates for answers and guidance all things tax. Carol would enjoy doing some tax planning and advising with you and assisting you with tax preparation and filing.
firstname.lastname@example.org OR 727-327-1999.
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ANY TAX ADVICE IN THIS COMMUNICATION IS NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN TO BE USED, AND CANNOT BE USED, BY A CLIENT OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FOR THE PURPOSE OF (i) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED ON ANY TAXPAYER OR (ii) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY MATTERS ADDRESSED HEREIN.