Another Casualty of the Government Shutdown: Tax Court Shuttered

We previously discussed the impact of the federal government shutdown on the Internal Revenue Service (see prior post here) and how IRS operations have virtually ground to a halt since October 1, 2013, the first day of the shutdown.  Another government agency impacted by the shutdown is the United States Tax Court in Washington, D.C., which has been closed since October 1.  According to a notice posted on the Tax Court website, no pleadings will be received by the court (including through the eFiling system), and no pleadings will be served by the court, until further notice.  Due dates previously established by court rules or court order are extended by the number of days that court operations are suspended.

However, because the Tax Court lacks the authority to extend statutory filing deadlines imposed by the Internal Revenue Code, taxpayers must still comply with such deadlines.  For example, IRC 6213(a) requires a taxpayer to file a petition for redetermination of a deficiency within 90 days after mailing of a statutory notice of deficiency.  This deadline is not extended as a result of the government shutdown, so any affected taxpayer must still timely file a petition.  The Tax Court advises taxpayers that hand-delivery is not available because of closure of the court, so petitions must be sent by U.S. mail or an approved private carrier such as Federal Express.  No Tax Court personnel will be available to confirm receipt, so taxpayers and practitioners would be well-advised to utilize a delivery service that provides proof of delivery.

In a more recent notice published on the IRS website, the court has announced that all trial sessions scheduled to begin on October 7 and 8, 2013, have been cancelled.  These particular trial sessions were scheduled for Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C.

In contrast, other federal courts (district courts, Courts of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court) remain open, at least until October 15, when federal court funding is expected to run out.

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