The government has been shut down for a whole month now… but what does that mean for entrepreneurs? It means a few things that you may or may not already be aware of: your taxes will take longer to be processed, your business certifications and other forms will take longer to be process, and overall beginning a business will be more difficult than usual.
According to the IRS's Contingency Plan, though there may be less IRS employees at work during the government shutdown, yearly tax filing and refunds will still happen, as the funds for these are taking out of an indefinite refund appropriate, and not an annual appropriation. The IRS is still required to have over half of their staff on site during a government shutdown, but those people who are on site are those who are considered necessary to the functionality of the states and the emergency needs of the country. Thankfully, those who specifically are involved with preparing tax forms and issuing refunds are considered necessary personal. There will be people on call to help with tax questions during the tax season, IRS employees on staff to process refunds, and other necessary tax season support.
The IRS web-pages that have to do with starting a business (both for profit and not for profit) will not be updated during this shutdown. That means any information gained on the website might not be the most relevant and up to date. Forms such as business permits and certifications obtained at the Federal level have ceased to be reviewed. If you are waiting for a government grant (from the National Science Foundation, the Center for Disease Control, etc.) to help with your business's funding, don't expect that grant to go through anytime soon.
What you should not be worried about during this time is receiving a new notice of an audit. Functionalities of the IRS during this time are limited to necessary components; and this does not include audit functions. This, along with legal counsel (Taxpayer Advocate Service), training and development activities, and other non-essential functions will not be happening during the shutdown.
-Caroline Mueller, Paralegal at Lex Valorem
Not intended as legal advice.
*Blog entry based on the IRS and other contingency plans as of 1/21/19.