IRS says Oct. 15 tax deadline holds despite government shutdown

WASHINGTON -- Despite the partial government shutdown, the tax man still cometh.

The Internal Revenue Service said that even though most of the agency's employees have been furloughed, Tuesday remained the filing deadline for millions of people who received a six-month extension to complete their 2012 tax returns.

"The current lapse in federal appropriations does not affect the federal tax law, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal," the IRS said last week in reminding late filers of the upcoming deadline.

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"Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making deposits with the IRS, as required by law," the IRS said.

The shutdown, which began Oct. 1, has limited IRS operations.

Only about 9.3% of the agency's 94.516 employees were expected to remain on the job during the shutdown, according to the IRS contingency plan.

Nearly all of those exempted employees were involved in "the protection of life and property" or law enforcement activities, according to the plan.

Most IRS services are on hold. The agency's walk-in taxpayer assistance centers are closed and there are no live customer service employees available via phone. Appointments for audits, appeals and other services have been canceled.

But the IRS emphasized that its suspension of operations doesn't mean payments are not still due and said there were some options for taxpayers who need assistance. Information is available on the IRS website and recorded tax help is available by phone at (800) 829-1040 -- after you listen to a message about the effect of the shutdown.

The IRS said it would accept and process all tax returns filed during the shutdown, but won't be able to issue refunds. The agency urged taxpayers to file electronically, because most of those returns will be processed automatically.

Of the approximately 12 million people who applied for the automatic six-month extension to file their 2012 1040 tax returns, many had not yet filed as of last week, the IRS said.

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