In a November 18 letter, the AICPA noted that the partial government shutdown in October resulted in several months of continuing impact on tax return processing and that the IRS has already announced a projected delay in the start of the 2014 tax filing season from January 21 to sometime between January 28 and February 4.
“Our members and their clients are concerned about any additional delay in the filing season as well as any planned reduction in IRS services that may affect a taxpayer’s and a tax practitioner’s ability to timely file tax returns, pay taxes, obtain refunds, address notices from the IRS, or contact the IRS with questions,” the letter stated.
The AICPA offered to work with the IRS to help it consider and prioritize issues, services and functions that taxpayers and practitioners are likely to need during the filing season. “For example, we are deeply concerned that another government shutdown with the IRS operating only at 9.3% of its workforce (8,752 of the 94,516 employees as of September 7, 2013, were deemed essential during the October 2013 government shutdown) would result in a huge strain on taxpayers and practitioners trying to timely report and file their income taxes by April 15, 2014,” the letter explained.
The AICPA also expressed the hope that in the event of a January 2014 government shutdown, the government will be able to retain many more IRS employees as deemed essential during filing season than was the case during last October’s closure. The Taxpayer Advocate was cited as an example. “Taxpayers need this avenue available to them when faced with hardships in the midst of another government shutdown,” AICPA Tax Executive Committee Chair Jeffrey A. Porter, CPA, pointed out in the letter. “The IRS keeping more essential positions working during January would help make the already delayed filing season operate as smoothly as possible.”