The IRS has a contingency plan in place, the Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan (‘contingency plan’), in preparation for the US government shutdown which is currently occurring.

The 120-page document details what areas of the IRS will shut down, and what activities will be affected.

The activities which will cease include:

Issuing of refunds.

Processing non disaster relief transcripts, income verification express service/return and income verification services.

Processing of amended income tax returns.

All audit functions, examination of returns, and processing of non-electronic tax returns that do not include remittances.

Non-automated collections.

Legal counsel.

Taxpayer services including call centres.

Activities which will continue to be conducted include:

Completion and testing of 2019 Filing Year programmes.

Processing of returns with payments.

Processing of remittances including payment perfection.

Processing disaster relief transcripts.

Design and printing of tax forms.

What does this mean for expats?

The Withholding and International Individual Compliance Practice Area, the area of the Large Business and International Division (LB&I) of the IRS has 20 employees. All 20 employees fall within category B “Excepted Activities”, meaning that these employees are authorized to continue operating only to the extent necessary for the oversight and protection of statutes (pp 69-72 of the contingency plan). Accordingly, calls to the international hotline are not currently able to be made. We will provide a status update in due course.