As government shutdown looms, taxman still knocks

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 6, 2011 1:22pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. government moves to the brink of a shutdown with budget talks stalled, taxpayers should remember one thing as tax day nears: tax collection may be considered "essential."

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman last week told a congressional hearing he was in talks with the White House budget agency about contingency plans in the event of a government shutdown.

Taxes are due this year on April 18.

Lawmakers and the Obama administration continued talks on Tuesday to avert a shutdown, racing against expiration of a temporary government funding measure that ends this Friday, April 8.

When the IRS Commissioner was asked about the potential for a shutdown last week, talks seemed productive.

"Everybody is hopeful that there won't be a shutdown," Shulman said, noting negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House were ongoing.

In prior shutdowns, the most recent of which occurred in 1995 and 1996, checks from taxpayers were collected - but refunds stopped. Still, prior shutdowns occurred during the months of November and December through January, not the tax-frenzied month of April.

An IRS spokeswoman could not speculate on how the agency would handle a shutdown this time.

Though refunds could be stalled, a 2011 Congressional Research Service report listed tax collection as an "essential" activity.

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
topkitty27 wrote:
Republicans are hellbent on creating financially enslaved Americans to do their dirty work without being responsible for the damage they cause to American families and culture. God Bless President Obama and his Administration for fighting the good fight. Send the worshipers of Mammon back to their mansions with a tax bill, for the disgrace they have brought on America as a greedy and godless country.

Apr 06, 2011 9:08pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.