IRS Update: The Government Shutdown and Your Taxes

The government shutdown that took place on October 1 left everyone with questions about how the shutdown will impact them.

If you are one of the taxpayers that filed an extension, you may be wondering if the shutdown impacts filing your taxes.

Don’t worry.  We have you covered and have answers to your burning questions:

Should I still file my extended tax return in light of the shutdown?

Yes, you still need to file your tax return by the October 15th extended deadline.  E-filing your return is the fastest way to have your tax return processed.  Returns filed by mail will not be processed until after the shutdown is over.  Acknowledgements will be issued by the IRS for e-filed accepted tax returns.

You said paper filed returns will not be processed, but I have to mail mine.  Will it be considered timely filed?

Yes, although paper tax returns will not be processed until after the shut down is over, the postal service will still post mark your paper filed return.  Any tax return postmarked by the due date will be considered filed on time by the IRS.

Will the IRS shutdown exclude me from late filing penalties if I don’t file by October 15?

No, the IRS still requires that you file your tax return by the extended deadline.

I owe money on my 2012 taxes, what should I do?

You should submit the balance owed electronically when you e-file your taxes.  Payments received will still be posted to your account.

If you have a previous balance due, you should submit the payment as you normally do.

Will the government shutdown affect my tax refund?

If you e-file your tax return, the IRS will still process your tax return as it normally would.  If you are due a tax refund, it will be issued when the shutdown is over.

Can I still check the status of my tax refund?

If your tax return was processed before the shutdown, you can use “IRS Where’s My Refund?” to check the status of your tax refund.  If you e-filed your tax return after the shutdown your e-filed tax return will be processed, however you will not be able to check the status of your refund until after the shutdown is over.

I need to contact the IRS, but I can’t get through, what should I do?

During the government shut down, IRS agents will not be there to take your call.  At TurboTax we have you covered and are up to date with the latest tax laws.  Our tax experts are available to answer your questions.

For more information please view the IRS Announcement.


Lisa Lewis is a CPA and the TurboTax Blog Editor. Lisa has 15 years of experience in tax preparation. Her success is attributed to being able to interpret tax laws and help clients better understand them. Lisa also has been a TurboTax product user for many years and understands how the software program works. In addition to extensive tax experience, Lisa also has a very well-rounded professional background. She has held positions as a public auditor, controller, and operations manager. Prior to becoming the TurboTax Blog Editor, she was a Technical Writer for the TurboTax Consumer Group and worked on a project to write new FAQs to help customers better understand tax laws. She could also be seen helping TurboTax customers with tax questions during Lifeline. For Lisa, getting timely and accurate information out to customers to help them is paramount.

Comments (115) Leave your comment

  1. I got acepeted on january 30 now it says i have an appeal 151 what does that mean i called my tax prepared she dont want to help me out

    • Did it say you have an appeal or that they are sending you a letter for additional information in the next 30 days to complete your return?

  2. When I go to where’s my refund it tell me to check my information it the right information but it can’t tell me where my refund is

    • I have the same issue. I e-filed Feb 5th however it says no information available on the WMR site and the hotline #. Don’t know if this is a matter of the info not being put into the program or if they just haven’t processed mine yet. Thinking about calling tomorrow just to make sure they have it. My tax preparer said it was accepted yet according to the site, they have nothing.

      • Same here, however when I called, they said that they could not give any information until 21 days have passed. They said they did not start processing until the 31st. Your best bet is to call this week or next week, and be prepared for a long wait as this is the same info that give everyone. They will gets tons of calls about refunds after the 21 day period so I hope they are ready for the surge of callers….Oh and I filed on 1/23/2014 and still no return date or refund. My 21 days are almost over this week.

  3. Hi I did my taxes on turbo tax and i am supposed to receive 9669.00 , but I got a deposit in my bank for only 1606 three days ago is something wrong or is it just a partial payment because I do not owe money anywhere and I received they correct amount for my state in my bank account. I look on wheres my refund but it does not tell me anything

  4. I filed my paper 2012 taxes in November of 2013. I believe the shutdown was in progress. I am owed money. I haven’t seen it yet. What now? Is it valid, can I check it in any way?

    • Hi James,
      You should call the IRS and make sure they received your 2012 taxes and are processing it.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

    • I tried calling, and the options are a nightmare. What is the best way to get a live person to talk to me? They make it extremely difficult for those that are owed money to get information.

  5. I had got audit in 2012 but I sent my information in and they sent a letter saying how much I was going to get back but case isn’t close if I file my 2013 tax now will they audit it to or not since im in the process of getting my money for 2012

  6. Hi
    My boyfriend went to this tax preparer, i have mi itin number that my mom was to used for her taxes but she hasnt used it since 2011.. I gave it to him so he can add me as a dependent!! The tax preparer didnt ask anything and when she printed the papers the amount of the refund was lower!! Why did this happen? Maybe is the tax preparer hidding something or this could be posible to happen?

  7. I filed for an injured spouse received letter stating how much I would get back but no one at the irs can tell me when anyone know how long it takes to get injured spouse refund

  8. Hi I have a dilemma and can’t seem to find an answer for what I’m looking for back in 2012 I filed my taxes mailed them out certified and have proof that they were received on 3/26. Deadline was April 17 2012 however they were sent back because the signature was missing. Received on 4/20 and I overnight end them on 4/23 they rec on 4/24 so now they sent me a letter stating that they won’t give me a refund because they were filed after the dead line. Can I appeal and win this or should I just give up?

  9. Greetings:
    I filed my 2012 fed return as an extension on October 12, 2013 by paper… I cannot get a status of my refund via irs site, phone app or phone #. What should I do or what can I expect. Thanks,

  10. I filed my paper 2012 return before April 15, 2013 and included a tax payment. I called in May as I was going abroad, and there were no issues (demands, notices, requests for info etc.) I did receive a notice in Sept. stating my refund amt. had been adjusted, no amt. given. I called at the end of November, and as told the payment had been received, and the return was still being processed. I sadly assumed all was OK in May and made financial decisions as a result of that. Any Ideas?

  11. Hello!
    I have a question reguarding my 2011 tax return. I still have yet to file it, as it is a paper return, and was wondering if i have time left in the year to send it in so i am able to get my refund? If they recieve it before the end of december, will i get a refund or will it not get processed in time? I havent been able to send it in as i didnt have a job to pay for the filling fees. I would hate to lose out on the money im owed.

  12. I am just wondering since the government shut down meaning they didnt offer us any government services that out taxes pay for is there some way for all of us to get a tax credit for the time they shut down? If we were being taxed for a service we are not receiving shouldnt we get a refund for that period of time?

  13. How long does a mailed return take to be processed? I sent my 2011 & 2012 returns in on the 30th of Oct.I check WMR last week & ironically TY2011 is showing up but not TY2012. Spoke to IRS rep today said that they were received on NOV 20th and are being processed but 2012 is still saying No record found.He also stated 4 to 6 weeks form the day they recieved them is this true will I be waiting another month for my refund?

      • Zking Thank you for the reply!Finally someone who has the same scenario. Have you had any luck calling?If so what have you been told? I called and spoke to several reps last week& was told that my 2011 & 2012 were both received on Nov 20th. The 2011 return has been processed completely but they informed me that they have a hold on 2011 refund & none of them could give me a reason as to why. The last rep informed me iIf they needing anything they would send me a letter requesting information but they had 8 weeks from the day they recieved it to do so. CRAZY.I guess 2012 is just setting there on someones desk..From the horror stories on other blogs, it doesn’t look to promising. People have been waiting since Feb for 2012.Refunds that have no reasons for holds. So if you could keep me updated on your returns it would be greatly appreciated.

  14. I was wondering if tax refunds for returns filed electronically during the shutdown are being processed within the expected 10-21 days or if they have been delayed. if anyone knows, please comment. thanks!

  15. Hey im Corey and I was in the bracket of ‘Identity theft’ I’ve done everything that I was told to do by an Irs rep, but I still haven’t received anything is it because of the government shut down. Just curious.

  16. Are they still going to issue amendments in lieu of the recent shutdown and budget cuts that have taken place?

  17. I missed the October 15 deadline…I know I cannot efile…but can I use TurboTax to prepare..print and mail to IRS…HELP!!

  18. I have an installment agreement with the IRS and it’s deducted from my bank account automatically. During the shutdown, they didn’t draft my payment. What should I do?

  19. IRS processed my return sept 30 2013 and the website says I will get a refund in 3 weeks. My question is will I still get my refund since it was before shutdown. Thanks

  20. I need to apply for a payment plan and my taxes are due today but I can’t get a hold of anyone and the online automated system is not working. I can’t afford to pay the entire amount. Any advice?

  21. Hi Lisa,
    I filed my taxes electronically and requested my refund through direct deposit. Will I still get a timely refund or will I have to wait until this godawful shutdown is over?
    Ray j.

  22. I tried to to file at 10:57pm Pacific Standard time and I got an error message… It is now 11:07am in LA and I still can’t file… Please help! thanks


    E-filing is Closed for the Season
    Hi there, and thanks for visiting. E-filing in TurboTax is closed as of October 15, 2013, so we can get ready for the upcoming tax season.

    If you need to get your return filed, you can print and file by mail.

  23. I’m unable to get pin numbers from the IRS online or on the phone. Is this due to the shutdown? When I use last year’s AGI, my electronic return gets rejected. Is this also related to the shutdown? Should I just mail my returns now?

    • Hi Glenn,
      If you e-file the day of the deadline and include your payment, it will be considered paid on time.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  24. We filed for the October extension, but do to working out of state longer than predicted, all of our tax info…w2’s and such are at home.
    We will not be able to file today…what should we expect to happen for filing later than the extension??

    • Hi,
      If you don’t file by today, you will receive late filing penalties. The penalty for filing late is usually 5% of the unpaid taxes for each month your return is late. This penalty will not exceed 25% of your unpaid taxes. If you don’t pay your taxes by the due date you will receive a failure-to-pay penalty of ½ of 1% of your unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month after the due date that the taxes are not paid. This penalty can be as much as 25% of your unpaid taxes. Please see this article for more information
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  25. Hi, I cannot file my taxes via Turbo Tax until Oct. 18th, can you tell me what happens? Can I e-file with a penalty? Can I still file with TurboTax online on October 18th after the deadline? Thanks!

    • Hi,
      Sorry you cannot e-file after October 15th at 12:00 am your local time zone.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      • e-filing actually closed at about 5pm Pacific on October 15th – I was surprised, I thought it would go until midnight. I hope I remember that next year.

      • I had the same problem trying to efile before midnight EST. Finally got through to TTax on the phone and was told it was a ‘glitch’ in the desktop versions only. Had to re-boot twice and then had at least 30 extra seconds to hit the efile button. WHY wan’t this posted to their website when they knew there was a problem??? Would have saved me an hour and lots of grey hairs!

  26. I am in default on my installment arrangement as I do not have the funds to pay. I have always called in the past and the IRS has worked with me, but now I fear thast I may get levied or something since I cannot speak to anyone. Advice?

  27. I have an installment payment agreement with IRS. The installment amount is taken automatically by IRS on 12th of every month. This month IRS did not take it. What should I do?


  28. Tried to file all the taxes today, oct 15, and website says turbo tax is closed as of today. There should have been notification that TT would not process returns.

    This is ridiculous.

    • Hi JJ,
      Sorry you were experiencing problems when e-filing. Please go back in and try again. E-file should be working.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  29. It is 3:11AM Pacific Time on Oct 15th. I am trying to e-File my California return. My Federal return was already e-Filed, transmitted yesterday.

    When I came back just now to try to e-File, TurboTax (during the “pay for your state e-file” online process) presented a message saying “October 15: e-File is closed so we can prepare for the upcoming tax season”.

    WHAT? The 2012 season isn’t done yet! Not until midnight tonight! What gives?

    • Hi Jorge,
      Sorry you were experiencing problems when e-filing. Please go back in and try again. E-file should be working.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  30. I am a schedule c sole propriotor and I filed for an extension for the 2012 tax year but will not be able to make that deadline. I will file my taxes as soon as they are finished but I want to make a payment now because I will owe taxes. Can I just make a general payment to the IRS on their website and apply it to my return when I do eventually get it completed?

    • Hi Steve,
      Yes you can. There will be a place for you to enter taxes already paid in TurboTax.
      Try to make the tax deadline if you can so you don’t get a late filing penalty.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

      • Lisa, my name is Candice. I asked a question below but no one replied…. Can I get some insight please?

  31. i filed a 1040 x amended tax return in july. they received it july 20th. I’m supposed to get it back next week… What’s going to happen?

  32. Property taxes are due tomorrow (10-15-2013) Will the process of our payments take longer due to the shutdown

    • Property taxes are a state/local function. I don’t think it likely that the shutdown will have any effect on those payments and how they’re processed.

  33. I’m trying to print out my mother’s federal and state tax returns – and I’m running into problems. I need to mail these as I need to also send in form 1310. Please advise, or provide me with a help desk phone number that I can call into?

  34. I filed an extension in April. I overpaid at that time. Do I have to write the IRS a note to let them know they owe me money even though the current (Oct. 15) return indicates that I owe the IRS?

  35. Thank you for posting this information! I needed to know if my efile through TurboTax H&B would be accepted, or if I would have to print it out and mail it to get the USPS proof.

  36. I did not file the adoption credit that I was due in 2011 taxes, so now I need to do a paper amendment to get the tax credit. I was informed that even when the government opens back up, that they will not be giving refunds back is this true and does this have to be done by Oct 15th or is that deadline for something else?

  37. I’m due for refund. I need ITIN for my dependent but unable to get all documents due to govt. shutdown.
    1. Can I file my return now without indicating dependent and later file an amended return with dependent? OR
    2. Can I file my return after 15th October when Shutdown is over?

  38. I have not be able to gather my documents for 2012 tax . Can I still file my tax after October 15 , and based on my assessment l am qualified for refund can I still get a refund if l file late?

    • The last day IRS accepts original efile returns is October 15. If you file on that date and your return is rejected, you will have a few more days to make corrections and resubmit.
      After October 15, you can print your return and mail it in.
      IRS will issue refunds on late filed tax returns if you file within three years from the original due date.
      You can file a return with the information you know, and file an amended return later to claim those deductions you aren’t sure about right now.
      Remember, IRS is not issuing any refunds during the shutdown period.

    • In my experience, if you file within 3 years, and you actually are owed a refund, you will get it and you probably won’t be penalized.

      Remember your state taxing authority may have different, possibly stricter rules. If you owe money, be sure to file ON TIME based on what information you do have, and then amend your return later. The late-filing penalties, when you owe money, can be horrendous. I think the IRS charges 25% of the amount due, each month, for every month you miss the deadline, with a partial month — even one day! — rounded UP! Yikes!

  39. I filled my taxes around March-April of 2013 and I still have not revieved my refund. I just want to know what’s going on ?

    • Kenneth,
      Ar you sure your tax return was accepted by the IRS? Did you check “Where’s my Refund?”
      If you aren’t able to get any answers there, you will have to wait until the shutdown is over to contact a person at the IRS to determine the status of your tax refund.
      Thank you,
      Mary Ellen

  40. I am trying to get an installment agreement approved. My tax notice states that my taxes are due by 10-14-13…. If the shutdown is not done by the 14th should I remove all of my money from my bank so that it is not seized?

    • IRS has suspended new collection actions during the shutdown and will resume them after the government resumes business.

      If your installment agreement is for the current year, IRS will not start aggressive collection activity without several notices to you.

      Thank you,
      Mary Ellen

  41. Hi TurboTaxLisa,

    I filed for extension last April. I am due a refund from my calculation (for sure) but I still have not gathered everything. Is it okay to file after October 15th? Or will I still get penalized even though the government owes me money.

    • Hi Sunshine,
      IRS penalties are based on the tax due after payments, so you would not have any penalties for filing late. But there are some tax benefits that are allowed only if the return is timely filed. It would be in your best interest to file the return by October 15. You can amend it later if you find you have more deductions to claim.

      Thank you,
      Mary Ellen

  42. I believe that my paycheck has been garnished in error, I’ve been trying to call the IRS with no success….is there anything I can do?

  43. So because of the shutdown does this mean when I file taxes at my local turbo tax office or h and r block office they will not send me my money until the shutdown is over and government is open again?

  44. I missed my 200 arranged installment agreement payment on 10/28/13. Should I send it in now or am I ok until the shutdown is over. Also should I send my October payment in.

    • Hi Mark,
      Yes, per the IRS, you should still pay your tax liabilities via normal methods and your payments will still be posted.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  45. this shutdown is complete B.S.! All it is doing is screwing american citizens, so much for electing politicions and ousting them if they are doing us no good like the founding fathers who started this country. Thanks!!! Talk about a spineless government who is only out for themselves.!!!

  46. I am trying to file 2012 taxes by Oct 15 deadline. Turbo Tax will not allow me to electronically file, and I get a turbo tax error trying to print and save my state return to PDF. My Federal return is saved and printed, why is the State having issues. I ran an error check and no errors.

    • Hi Melissa,
      Sorry you are having problems filing. It would be best for you to call our support at 1(800)4-intuit so you can physically speak with someone and they can walk you through the necessary steps so you can e-file your tax return.

      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  47. Hi Lisa,
    With regard to current income tax, what are we paying into and why if the federal government is shut down? How will this and can this affect my 2013 filing? Thanks, Karen

  48. I have 4 years of returns prepared that I want to e-file as a self-employed individual (2009-2012), how can I submit this information, and get a confirmation on filing? Turbo Tax will not let me file, it is showing me an error.

  49. I have been paying my 2012 taxes through direct debit payments from my bank account. Will that payment still be debited this month?

  50. My taxes refurn was with the fraud departmebt but was suppose to be mailed out on october 4 . Will Istill iI still get my check

    • Hi Larry,
      Unfortunately, if your tax return was still in the fraud department and was not processed by October 4th, which was after the shutdown your tax refund will not be processed until the shutdown is over.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  51. I filed a return in feb 2013 it was delayed bc I claimed the education fully aware that about 600,000 others had similar situations claiming the education credit….. I have spoken to several irs reps who have continuously told me” your return is being processed” it is October ..8 months have passed and nothing but processing messages (wmr)….I read the irs has suspended auditing returns… does this mean my return will finally come out the depths of this black hole… im desperate for answers please help

  52. Checked the status of my refund and it said it had been delivered and returned due to incorrect address;however, my address used is the correct one. I don’t understand what happened? Now, no one is answering the phone to check the status or address

  53. I received a notice is the mail today, 10/07/2013 regarding changes to my 2012 Form 1040A. As a result, I am due a refund. I did my 2012 taxes my paper and it was mailed ever since April 16, 2013. Does this me I won’t get my refund due to me, until after the shutdown is over???

    • Hi Karen,
      There is not another extension to file your 2012 taxes. You should still file them. Although there is a shutdown the IRS will still have record of receipt of your tax return and if you efile, the IRS will process your tax return. If you can’t pay, you can get an installment agreement to pay off what you owe once your tax return is accepted and processed. Of course, you won’t be able to get your installment agreement until the shutdown is over, but it is best to efile your tax return before the October 15th deadline so you don’t receive a late filing penalty. Please read
      for more information regarding installment agreements.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

  54. I Never Received My 2012 tax return because of an identity theft situation. About 3 days before the shutdown I went to a local IRS Office and had everything straightened out and re-filed, will the shutdown affect me getting my return?

  55. My return was accepted on sept. 27th will the gov. shut down still impact my return? will I still have to wait until the shut down is over to get my return back?

  56. If I elected to use part of my refund for the amazon gift cirtificate. When the Govt resumes do I have to call anyone at the IRS about my refund or will everything be automatic and emailed to me as usual?

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