Despite Government Shutdown, Postponed Tax Returns Still Due Oct. 15

Despite the lapse in government funding for many federal programs, taxpayers who requested a six-month postponement of their tax bill will need to file and, if they owe Uncle Sam money, make payment by Oct. 15. About 7 percent of taxpayers request the extension each year, the IRS says.

All normal tax deadlines are still in effect, including those covering individuals, corporations, partnerships and employers. The regular payroll tax deadlines remain in effect as well. For those who are self-employed, Oct. 15 is also the deadline to fund a SEP-IRA.

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If you need to meet the Oct. 15 deadline, you can file electronically or by mailing hard copies. Electronic returns will be automatically processed but paper returns won’t be processed until things are back to normal and all IRS employees are back to work. Even though IRS employees might not see your return until after Oct. 15, if it is postmarked on or before that date, it will be accepted and not considered late by the IRS.

You’ll also need to sit tight if you’re expecting a return. Those won’t be sent out until normal operations resume. Just 9 percent of the IRS workforce — 8,750 of almost 95,000 — is working during the shutdown, according to CNN Money.

You’re also out of luck if you need any kind of help in filing your extended tax return. There aren’t any live telephone customer-service or walk-in employees able to assist you. You can get help from the automated toll-free phone system. If you had any kind of meeting scheduled, whether it’s for an audit, collections, appeals, or any other kinds of cases, you should assume your meeting is cancelled and will be rescheduled when it’s back to business as usual.

“Clients that have waited until the Oct. 15 deadline to file to get their refund may see a significant delay in getting that refund because of the shutdown,” Joe Montgomery of Greenville, CPA and owner of Montgomery & Co. CPAs told South Carolina’s The State.

“That obviously can cause problems if the client has been counting on that money for cash-flow purposes.”

The only exceptions to the Oct. 15 extension deadline are taxpayers who asked for an extension AND were impacted by Colorado’s severe storms and flooding. They have until Dec. 2 to file and pay. Also, military members in a combat zone have 180 days from the date they leave to file and pay taxes due.

Michele Dawson is a Realty Biz News Contributing Writer