IRS To Accept Tax Returns During a Government Shutdown


By Martin DiGiovine

In the event of a government shutdown on Friday, April 8, 2011, IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman has announced that the IRS will continue to accept tax returns. Paper returns, however, will not be processed until the shutdown is over. The due date remains April 18.

E-filed returns will continue to be processed during a shutdown, and refund checks will not be delayed. This may present a planning opportunity for some taxpayers (i.e. e-file if expecting a refund, file by mail if there is a balance due).

A senior IRS official also announced that tax audits would be suspended during a government shutdown. It is unclear whether the IRS will continue to issue rulings or accept taxpayers into the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative. Commissioner Shulman refused to speculate on “who will be doing what” during a shutdown.

In the event of a government shutdown, approximately 800,000 federal employees would be furloughed. Certain segments of government, such as the Postal Service and Armed Forces, would remain active during a shutdown.

The last time a government shutdown occurred was in 1995, under President Bill Clinton. It lasted from November 14 through November 19, 1995 and from December 16, 1995 to January 6, 1996. Read our insight for more information about a possible government shutdown.


Schneider Downs provides accounting, tax, wealth management, technology and business advisory services through innovative thought leaders who deliver the expertise to meet the individual needs of each client. Our offices are located in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbus, OH.

This advice is not intended or written to be used for, and it cannot be used for, the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties that may be imposed, or for promoting, marketing or recommending to another person, any tax-related matter.

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