This week, my staff and I are pausing to celebrate that the chapter has closed on 2022’s filing. It was probably over for you back in April, but my team just wrapped that up for some of our Oakland clients who needed to file extensions.
Of course, we’ll be starting all over again in a couple months. Such is the annual tax cycle, as you well know.
In the interim, though, I want to get you thinking about end-of-year tax moves to set you up for a better 2023 financially. There are some simple things you can do related to charitable giving, retirement contributions, and capital gains that will benefit you overall. If you want to discuss what that looks like for you (and I really think you should), I’m right here:
Preparation is vitally important on all fronts, now more than ever. Even as we watch the escalating tensions in Gaza and throughout the Middle East, preparing ourselves for the possibility of oil prices climbing seems like good common sense. That might mean reorienting your family budget and repositioning your driving priorities in the coming months.
And it’s not just the things happening abroad that should put you in that frame of mind. Though President Biden signed a temporary bill to buffer a government shutdown on September 30th (just hours before things were set to go dark), things aren’t ready to return to business as usual yet.
While the possibility of a government shutdown remains, its implications, both short-term and long-term and the impact on your tax situation, warrant understanding.…
How a Government Shutdown Affects Oakland Taxpayers
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” — John F. Kennedy
Even though we narrowly missed a government shutdown at the end of September, there’s still not a clear indication that either side of the aisle is ready to agree on things yet.
So, what could a government shutdown in the coming months mean for America and for Alameda County residents? Let’s look at that.
In the short-term
Initially, a government shutdown has the most effect on federal employees. A significant number could be furloughed or continue to work without pay (though they will get retroactive pay once a budget is decided on).
Essential services will generally continue. The post office, for example, because they run off their own budget. Social security and Medicare checks will continue to be dispatched, but some aspects of those services like SS benefit verification and replacement Medicare cards would be halted.
WIC and SNAP funding should also continue, at least for a little while, but some other aspects of those programs would be halted. And VA services like health care would continue as well.
And of course air traffic controllers, TSA agents, law enforcement, and military personnel will also continue to work with the added difficulty of potentially working without pay.
However, some disruptions would be more immediate. Passport processing would be further delayed or stopped entirely (with some exceptions). National Parks would not be accessible. Immigration applications and citizenship status would be halted. The SBA would stop accepting and approving new loans.
If you’re thinking of traveling or starting a business, you might need to put those plans on hold for a little bit.
What about the IRS?
As far as the IRS goes… They’ve made a contingency plan in the event of a government shutdown which focuses on using allocated funds from the Inflation Reduction Act to avoid closing. However, there was pushback from the Treasury on this front, with access to and usage of the funds being severely restricted.
Tax refunds might slow and taxpayer dispute resolutions could be suspended. On top of that, call centers would be shut down, limiting access for taxpayers to get answers to questions. But, you can often find the answers to a lot of your tax questions on IRS.gov both general and personal. If that’s a problem, we can get those answers for you.
The main thing to know is the IRS will continue preparations for filing season in an effort to not get backlogged for this upcoming tax season. They’ll update tax forms, hire, train, and continue to modernize.
Beyond that, they’ll continue to process requests for transcripts following disasters, provide income verification to mortgage lenders, banks, and others who request it, maintain critical IT system functions that are necessary to protect taxpayer data, and implement green energy credit provisions.
So there’s that.
Should a shutdown prolong, the domino effect becomes more pronounced. Economic tensions increase and chip away at our GDP. Various government controlled services will be stretched. Think TSA agents struggling, reminiscent of 2018’s airport disruptions. And concerns over the nation’s credit rating might mount, affecting overall buying power and productivity.
But, I would encourage you not to fret over these possibilities. Instead, make decisions about how you can proactively prepare your finances: re-evaluate your budget, put off major purchases, build up your emergency fund. You can even contact your financial companies and ask about payment extension programs in the event that you’re not able to pay your mortgage, your insurance, or your credit cards.
And, on the taxes front, know that I’ll be here to help bring light to what’s happening with the IRS and what you can do to roll with their decisions.
While a fleeting government shutdown might not drastically alter your daily routines, if it lasted a long time, the complications run broader and deeper. As international tensions simmer and domestic policies shift, staying informed and proactive becomes not just advisable but vital for all of us. I’ll be here for you through it.
On your team,