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Tax filing deadlines remain, despite shutdown shenanigans

The partial government shutdown is a source of consternation, indignation or amusement to Americans on many different levels.

In terms of the IRS and its ability to enforce tax law, the messages are decidedly mixed. It's true that the bulk of the IRS workforce is furloughed and that tax audits have been suspended.

But IRS computers still continue to spit out notices of tax liens. Criminal investigations continue as well. And taxpayers who filed for a six- month extension to file their federal income tax returns this year should be aware that the October 15 deadline for filing those returns remains in place, shutdown or no shutdown.

The six-month extension is used by many taxpayers. This year, more than 12 million people are expected to file their returns after this extension. They should not let their guard down, thinking they'll get more time because of government shutdown shenanigans. The IRS made it clear that they won't.

The October 15 date is of course one week from today.

The IRS is encouraging taxpayers to use e-filing to meet the deadline. For many people, filing that way hardly requires much encouragement. After all, more than 83 percent of the returns that have been filed this year have been e-filed.

Of course, sometimes taxpayers who are about to file their taxes are struggling with being unable to pay the full amount of taxes they owe. It still makes sense for such taxpayers to file, even as they consider their payment options. Otherwise they would face a possible late-filing tax penalty.

Source: Forbes, "IRS Shutdown? October 15 Deadline Remains In Effect," Charles Rettig, October 8, 2013

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