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Extended Tax-Filing Deadline Looms Despite Government Shutdown

Even though many IRS functions are currently suspended, if you filed for an extension last April, the deadline for sending your tax return is still October 15.

I filed for a tax extension last spring, and the deadline for filing my return is October 15. Do I need to get my return in by then if the government is still shut down?

Yes. Even though many IRS functions are affected by the shutdown, the deadine for filing an extended return continues to be October 15 (the deadline for recharacterizing 2012 IRA conversions is also October 15). The IRS will continue to accept payments and returns. More than 12 million taxpayers requested an automatic six-month extension for filing their tax returns last spring.

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Electronic returns will be processed automatically, but paper returns will not be processed until the shutdown is over. Paper returns must be postmarked by October 15 to be counted as on time. If you are owed a refund, don't expect that money to come anytime soon.

You'll also have a tough time getting help from the IRS during the shutdown. The automated phone service still works, but no live customer-service assistance is available, and the IRS taxpayer-assistance centers are closed. The IRS.gov Web site is a good resource if you have tax questions during the shutdown, although some interactive features will not be available.

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If you have an appointment related to an audit, appeal or taxpayer advocate case, assume that meeting is canceled as long as the government is shut down. You'll still be able to complete some automated activities, such as requesting a tax transcript for your personal records, but tax transcripts requested by third parties (such as mortgage lenders) will be delayed because that process requires action by IRS employees who are not available during the shutdown.

See IRS.gov for more information about the October 15 deadline and common mistakes to avoid when filing an extended return.

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