By Nicholas Eusanio, Esq., LL.M
The tax attorneys at Nardone Law Group in Columbus, Ohio routinely assist individuals and businesses in utilizing IRS collection alternatives to repay their federal tax liabilities and avoid Notices of Federal Tax Liens or levies when possible. But, taxpayers should be aware that the recent federal government shutdown has significantly impacted the IRS audit and examination, and collection processes. Accordingly, the tax lawyers at Nardone Law Group want to inform Ohio taxpayers about the effect the federal government shutdown may have related to dealing with the IRS right now. This article highlights some key points a taxpayer should know regarding the IRS’ current limited operations based on the federal government shutdown.
IRS Shutdown May Benefit Taxpayers
Because the federal government has failed to approve a short-term spending bill to maintain funding for federal government agencies, the federal government shut down on October 1, 2013. Until Congress can come to an agreement on a funding measure, the federal government shutdown will continue. The federal government shutdown involves most federal government agencies and, unfortunately for taxpayers, includes the IRS. Below are some of the most important points for taxpayers to know related to the current IRS shutdown:
1) Most IRS audit, examination and collections employees—such as revenue agents and revenue officers—are furloughed during the federal government shutdown. This means that IRS revenue agents or revenue officers handling audits or examinations or collection of tax liabilities and processing collection alternatives are no longer operating. As a result, the IRS is not conducting any audits or examinations, or field collection activity at this time. In fact, we have received numerous telephone calls from revenue agents recently to postpone audits or examinations.
2) The IRS recently confirmed that although taxpayers may continue to receive federal tax lien or levy notices with October mailing dates, the IRS is not currently pursuing liens or levies against most taxpayers for civil tax issues during the shutdown. The IRS is taking collection enforcement action—such as liens or levies—against taxpayers in civil tax matters only in limited circumstances. So, according to the IRS, most lien or levy notices that taxpayers continue to receive during the IRS shutdown are either notices that the IRS mailed out prior to the full shutdown or that the IRS’ computer systems automatically generated to inform taxpayers that they could be subject to a lien or levy in the future.
3) The IRS Criminal Investigations Division continues to operate during the federal government shutdown.
4) Taxpayers must continue to file federal tax returns and pay federal taxes by the due dates for filing the returns or making the payments. Tax return, payment, and refund processing may be delayed during the IRS shutdown.
NLG Comment: The pause in IRS audit or examination and collection activity due to furloughed revenue agents and revenue officers can be a benefit for taxpayers who have not yet discussed their cases with an experienced tax attorney. Taxpayers who are: (i) facing an IRS audit or examination by a revenue agent; (ii) trying to qualify for a collection alternative through a revenue officer; or (iii) concerned about potential IRS lien or levy action based on an IRS notice should take this opportunity to contact a tax lawyer for assistance while the IRS is not operating. Time and experience are always very important factors in properly preparing for an IRS audit or examination, adequately compiling information and documentation to request and obtain an IRS collection alternative, or taking the necessary steps to avoid an IRS lien or levy. Accordingly, the IRS shutdown provides taxpayers a golden opportunity to utilize this extra time and retain the benefit of experienced tax counsel to assist with their cases.
Nardone Law Group represents businesses and individuals in federal and state tax issues, including federal tax liens and levies, IRS audits or examinations, or IRS collection alternatives. If you are struggling with tax liabilities, received a federal tax lien or levy notice, or have been contacted by a revenue agent for an audit or examination, you should contact an experienced tax attorney today. Nardone Law Group’s tax lawyers and professionals have vast experience representing clients before the IRS. Our experienced tax lawyers will thoroughly review your case to determine what options and alternatives are available, including the Fresh Start Initiative Offer in Compromise, installment agreement, currently not collectible, or discharge in bankruptcy options. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case.