The government shutdown, which went into effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, impacts many tax cases, which are in litigation status and are currently pending in the United States Tax Court, as well as those cases, which have a deadline for filing a Tax Court petition to protest an IRS Notice of Deficiency or Notice of Determination.

What should taxpayers and tax practitioners know about the effect of the Government Shutdown on the U.S. Tax Court and Tax Court cases?

Is the United States Tax Court open during Government Shutdown?

No, the U.S. Tax Court suspended its operations beginning October 1, 2013. Notice of the cancellation of any trial session scheduled to begin after October 1, 2013, will be posted on the Court’s Web site by 12 noon (Eastern time) on the Friday prior to the beginning of the trial session, which usually starts on Mondays.

Can I file documents with the U.S. Tax Court, or receive documents from the Tax Court, during Government Shutdown?

No, because of the government shutdown beginning on October 1, 2013:

  1. No documents will be received by the Court until the shutdown is concluded or the Court osts other further notice on this Web site.
  2. The Court will not receive submissions of documents for eFiling until further notice.
  3. The Court will serve not serve any documents until further notice.

I have a case pending before the Tax Court. What happens to the due dates established by the Court in my case?

Because of the government shutdown beginning on October 1, 2013, due dates previously set by Tax Court Rule or Order for filing a document or completing discovery or any other act will be extended. Specifically, all such due dates on or after October 1, 2013, shall be extended by the number of days that Court operations are suspended, up to a maximum extension of 5 days from the date the Court resumes operations. If the extended due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or a “legal holiday” (as defined in I.R.C. section 7503), the due date shall then be the next succeeding day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal holiday.

Does Government Shutdown extend the due date for filing a Tax Court Petition?

No, the Court does not have authority to extend statutory filing deadlines imposed in the Internal Revenue Code. IRC § 6213(a) provides that a taxpayer must file a petition with the Court to redetermine a deficiency within 90 days after the mailing of a notice of deficiency, and IRC § 6330(d)(1) provides that a taxpayer must file a petition to review a determination involving a proposed lien or levy within 30 days after the mailing of the notice of determination.

Taxpayers must comply with the statutory deadlines by timely mailing a petition to the Court. Timeliness of mailing of the petition is determined by the United States Postal Service’s postmark or the delivery certificate of an approved private express delivery company. Hand-delivery to the Courthouse is not available during the period the Court is closed due to a Government shutdown.

If you have questions about how the government shutdown affects your tax case, please feel free to contact Former IRS Attorneys of Holtz, Slavett & Drabkin at (310) 550-6200.