The IRS has sent out a reminder that the current lapse in federal appropriations does not affect the federal tax law, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as required by law.
Taxpayers whose tax-filing extension runs out on October 15 are urged to double-check their returns for often-overlooked tax benefits and then file their returns electronically using IRS e-file or the Free File system. Many of the more than 12-million taxpayers who requested an automatic six-month extension for filing 2012 returns have yet to file.
Although October 15 is the last day for most people with extensions, some have more time, including members of the military and others serving in Afghanistan or other combat zone localities who typically have until at least 180 days after they leave the combat zone to both file returns and pay any taxes due. Individuals with extensions in parts of Colorado affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides also have more time, until December 2, 2013, to file and pay.
Taxpayers with extensions should file their returns by October 15, even if they cannot pay the full amount due. Doing so will avoid the late-filing penalty, normally 5-percent per month, that would otherwise apply to any unpaid balance after October 15. However, interest and late-payment penalties will continue to accrue. In many cases, taxpayers struggling to pay taxes may qualify for one of several relief programs. Taxpayers can also request a payment agreement by filing Form 9465-FS, which can be downloaded from irs.gov and mailed along with a tax return, bill or notice.
Taxpayers can use Free File offered by the IRS’ commercial partners to individuals and families with income of $57,000 or less, or the online fillable forms. Taxpayers who purchase their own software can also choose e-file and most paid tax return preparers are now required to file their clients’ returns electronically.
Taxpayers can also e-pay what they owe, either online or by phone through the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), by electronic funds withdrawal or with a credit or debit card. There is a fee for the debit and credit card payments only as private-sector card processors charge a convenience fee. Those individuals who itemize their deductions may claim these fees on their tax year 2013 Schedule A. Those who choose to pay by check or money order should make the payment out to the “United States Treasury.”
Although the IRS is urging taxpayers to file electronically, taxpayers may also file their tax returns on paper. Payments accompanying paper and e-filed tax returns will be accepted and processed as the IRS receives them. Tax refunds will not be issued until normal government operations resume.
IRS operations are limited during the appropriations lapse. Live assistors on the phones and at Taxpayer Assistance Centers are unavailable. However, IRS.gov and most automated toll-free telephone applications remain operational.
Tax software companies, tax practitioners and Free File remain available to assist with taxes during this period.
IR-2013-80, FINH ¶30,751
Code Sec. 6072
CCH Reference – 2013FED ¶36,723.021
CCH Reference – 2013FED ¶36,723.15
Code Sec. 6075
CCH Reference – FINH ¶20,315.20
Code Sec. 6081
CCH Reference – FINH ¶20,345,05
CCH Reference – FINH ¶20,355,05
Code Sec. 7508
CCH Reference – 2013FED ¶42,687.1091
Code Sec. 7508A
CCH Reference – 2013FED ¶42,687C.22
Tax Research Consultant
CCH Reference – TRC FILEBUS: 15,100
CCH Reference – TRC FILEBUS: 15,104.05