The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on Friday issued an alert to millions of taxpayers who filed for a an extension earlier this year that their filing deadline is in mid-October.
Individuals who were impacted by flooding in Vermont have until Nov. 15 to file, the release also said. Those impacted by the Maui fires in Hawaii several weeks ago or Hurricane Idalia in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina have until Feb. 24, 2024, to file their 2022 tax returns, according to the release.
The Oct. 16 deadline also applies to taxpayers in most of California as well as areas in Alabama and Georgia who fall under a disaster exemption, it said.
Government Shutdown?A day before the IRS issued its release about the Oct. 16 deadline, the U.S. Treasury Department, which oversees the agency, released a contingency plan (pdf) that includes furloughs to about 60,000 IRS employees—or about two-thirds of its workforce.
A spokesperson for the Treasury Department told the Federal News Network this week the potential furloughs will have "significant impacts" on taxpayers. Most of the agency's tax functions would also halt during the event of a shutdown, the spokesperson added.
A former commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rettig, told the Washington Post on Friday that a possible shutdown would create headaches for some taxpayers.
"Taxpayers would be completely unable to contact most IRS employees during the shutdown," he said. During the 2018–2019 shutdown, "it took the better part of a year for the IRS to get back," he said.
"Don’t overlook the impact on the employees or future recruitment effort[s]," Mr. Rettig said. "Current and prospective IRS employees have numerous options for employment in other organizations not similarly impacted by a dysfunctional Congress."
The plan for IRS furloughs did not make mention of the Oct. 16 deadline for extensions and individuals in disaster-impacted areas. It's not clear what will happen on Oct. 16 or whether the date would be pushed back if the government shutdown persists past that date.
In a statement on Thursday, the National Treasury Employees Union said that with the shutdown, taxpayers will have an "incredibly difficult" time doing business with the IRS. It called on Congress to avert the shutdown.
Crackdowns?The flurry of activity comes just weeks after the IRS announced that it would use artificial intelligence, or AI, to launch "sweeping, historic" enforcement measures to go after tax evaders.
“There is a sea change taking place at the IRS in every aspect of our operations,” IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a Sept. 8 statement, saying those new tools will allow the agency to catch people “abusing the nation’s tax laws."
“The changes will be driven with the help of improved technology as well as Artificial Intelligence that will help IRS compliance teams better detect tax cheating, identify emerging compliance threats, and improve case selection tools to avoid burdening taxpayers with needless ‘no-change’ audits.”
There have been reports suggesting the newly announced crackdown will target higher-earning taxpayers and large corporations. The IRS has said that it will not increase audit rates above the historical level for people earning less than $400,000 annually.