Eight Tips Denver Taxpayers Can Utilize to Understand the Shutdown’s Impact on the IRS

January 24, 2019

Whether you’re currently paying an IRS installment plan, concerned about IRS wage garnishment in 2019 or simply a Denver resident looking for tax help, the most recent government shutdown has both individual taxpayers, large corporations and small business owners equally concerned. After all, isn’t Tax Season stressful enough?
Initial reports indicated that the IRS would be slow in offering returns in the shutdown’s wake —even that it would take weeks or months to receive your return. In fact, as of this writing, the IRS will in fact process returns as normal while the shutdown continues. Denver-area taxpayers are encouraged to follow these seven tips to make their filings run as smooth as any other tax season.
1. Tax filing season will begin as normal on January 28, 2019. Federal officials have already begun informing segments of IRS employees to return to work on dates on or near this date so that paperwork and filings can be processed accordingly. IRS employees who remain at work do so under the auspices of a contingency plan that is initiated to keep key facets of the federal government open during shutdowns.
2. The IRS has retained most of its workforce during the shutdown. Over 45,000 IRS employees —nearly sixty-percent of the organization's entire staff —have been retained throughout the shutdown. While the majority of these workers are currently working without pay, they will receive back wages once the government reopens.
3. File your taxes as early as possible. While this is advice Denver residents and small businesses are encouraged to follow every tax filing season, it’s crucially important this year given the potential likelihood of delays the longer the shutdown drags on. Even if the IRS shutters for a period of time, returns that were received earliest are likely to be processed first once the agency reopens. If you are normally a procrastinator when it comes to filing your federal return, this, of all years, is the time to put an end to conventional delays.
4. Work with a tax professional to reduce the potential for errors in your return. During a time where even properly completed returns have a potential to be delayed, taxpayers in Denver are encouraged to work with a tax professional to ensure that any errors or discrepancies that could further delay your return are caught as soon as possible —even if their accustomed to filing their taxes on their own.
5. Paper returns *with payments* still be processed as normal. If you are an independent contractor, or have an estimate that indicates you will owe the IRS for 2018 taxes, keep in mind that posted, paper returns that include payments to the IRS will be processed as normal.
6. Keep organized archives. Just because the government is lost in a sea of red tape doesn’t mean you have to be. Keep copies of all submitted returns as well as all your W-2, student loan, and other tax-related documents organized throughout your filing process —a sound tip for tax filing ever fiscal year. Keeping detailed records doesn’t only mean that you’ll be prepared to submit an audit, it also means that you’ll be better able to track discrepancies if your return has an error or you if you feel your tax return is erroneous.
7. Pay your IRS settlement as normal. If you are a Denver taxpayer who has already entered into a settlement agreement with the IRS regarding debt for a previous tax year, continue to make your monthly installment as normal. The government shutdown and reduction of staff at the IRS will not affect your installment in anyway, and you are still beholden to the schedule of payments you made at the time the agreement was constituted. Translation: don’t skip your monthly payment the IRS because you’re tempted to think that no one is home.
8. Don’t assume a return amount until your check is in hand. Perhaps the soundest financial advice we can give is don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Do not assume what your return will be or implement into your budget until your check is in hand or your return deposit has been made —particularly in a tax season where limited resources and a taxed (no pun intended) staff may make the propensity for filing errors larger than in “normal” tax seasons.
The most important thing for Denver area taxpayers to remember as the government shutdown continues is that the situation is constantly in flux. No one can know how long IRS employees will be willing to work without a paycheck, just as no one can predict the potential for sudden legislative action to take place that spurn a reopening of the federal government.
By following these tips, you can assume the best outcome —a timely, correct tax return —while being prepared for the worst-case scenario —a massive IRS backlog or total shutdown. Here at Advanced Tax Solutions, we understand how the latest government shutdown can add anxiety and a sense of chaos to what is already a stressful time of year for Denver tax payers. Whether you're seeking IRS tax debt, are eager to remove a levy on your paycheck, or are looking to setup an IRS installment plan, we welcome you to contact us today.
Our team of hardworking and amicable professionals will work to answer all your questions about how the government shutdown could affect your 2019 IRS tax return and to help with all of your state and federal tax needs.
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