If Government Shuts Down, Taxpayer Advocate Service Can’t Help: What You Need to Know

As the fiscal year starts on October 1st, there’s growing uncertainty about the approval of appropriations legislation to fund parts of the government, including the IRS. In this context, the potential shutdown raises concerns about the availability of crucial taxpayer assistance services. This blog post explores the ramifications of a government shutdown on the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) and, in the midst of these challenges, highlights the supportive services Crystal Clear Tax offers to individuals and businesses.

Understanding the Consequences

If a lapse in appropriations occurs, TAS, a vital lifeline for taxpayers facing economic hardships, will be unable to assist until the government reopens. This means taxpayers experiencing challenges such as IRS-issued notices for paycheck garnishments or bank levies may find themselves without recourse during a shutdown. The impact on those facing economic hardships is profound, leaving them without the support they urgently need.

The Legal Landscape

The Antideficiency Act (ADA) and IRS Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan shed light on the restrictions during a government shutdown. The “protection of property” exception in the ADA, as interpreted, is limited to government property rather than taxpayer property. This interpretation presents a significant challenge, leaving taxpayers vulnerable to collection actions without the possibility of relief from TAS. The frustration is palpable, especially for the National Taxpayer Advocate, as the asymmetry in the current setup favors the IRS over the taxpayer.

Implications for Taxpayers

Not only does the potential shutdown impact collection actions during the shutdown period, but the lead-up to the shutdown could also have lasting effects. For instance, bank levies issued just weeks before a potential shutdown may leave taxpayers in a precarious situation with limited avenues for resolution. The lack of access to TAS during a shutdown raises concerns about the asymmetrical impact on taxpayers, emphasizing the need for a more balanced approach.

Advocacy for Change

The National Taxpayer Advocate urges reconsideration of the portion of the Lapse Plan limiting TAS’s ability to assist taxpayers facing economic hardships. The call is for the IRS, the Treasury Department, and the Office of Management and Budget to revisit this aspect of the plan and enable TAS to play a role in protecting taxpayer property during a lapse in appropriations. If administrative changes are not implemented, there’s a strong recommendation for legislative action to grant TAS the authority to assist taxpayers during such lapses.

Crystal Clear Tax’s Supportive Services

In the face of potential uncertainties, Crystal Clear Tax stands firm as a reliable partner, offering essential services to individuals and businesses. From individual and business tax services to accounting and bookkeeping, financial advisory, Crystal Clear Tax caters to diverse needs, ensuring clients receive comprehensive support during challenging times. The focus on single-mom entrepreneurs and diverse individuals underscores the commitment to inclusivity and personalized assistance.

Wrap up!

As discussions unfold around potential government shutdowns and the limitations it imposes on taxpayer assistance, the need for a balanced approach becomes evident. Crystal Clear Tax remains dedicated to providing unwavering support through a range of services, emphasizing the importance of personalized assistance for all clients, especially single-mom entrepreneurs and diverse individuals. While the future remains uncertain, the commitment to putting taxpayers first remains a guiding principle for both advocates and service providers alike.

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