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Post-shutdown, the IRS is back at work and don't you forget it.

Editorial Staff

The pent-up energy in the US government is being released apace. And, of course, the Inland Revenue Service is required to find the money the government needs and, as the shutdown demonstrated, it really doesn't hold much in reserve. And so, within hours of getting back to work, the IRS has issued a warning notice about something employers must do by.., oh, yes, today.

The IRS says in a "newswire" (it's an emaill blast) (reproduced verbatim) issued 29 January, 2019 US time,

"WASHINGTON The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers and other businesses of the Jan. 31 filing deadline that applies to filing wage statements and independent contractor forms with the government.

The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act requires employers to file their copies of Form W-2 [ https://www.irs.gov/uac/about-... ], Wage and Tax Statement, and Form W-3 [ https://www.irs.gov/site-index... ], Transmittal of Wage and Tax Statements, with the Social Security Administration by Jan. 31. The Jan. 31 deadline also applies to certain Forms 1099-MISC [ https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs... ], Miscellaneous Income, filed with the IRS to report non-employee compensation to independent contractors. Such payments are reported in box 7 of this form.

This deadline makes it easier for the IRS to verify income that individuals report on their tax returns and helps prevent fraud. Failure to file these forms correctly and timely may result in penalties. As always, the IRS urges employers and other businesses to take advantage of the accuracy, speed and convenience of filing these forms electronically.

An extension of time to file Forms W-2 is no longer automatic. The IRS will only grant extensions for specific reasons. Details can be found on the instructions for Form 8809 [ https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pd... ], Application for Extension of Time to File Information Returns.

The IRS noted that some employers who ordered paper information and employer returns may not receive them in time to meet the Jan. 31 deadline and should consider an alternate source for these forms. The IRS is filling these orders as quickly as possible. Click here [ https://www.irs.gov/businesses... ] for more information."

In summary: just because we weren't here and couldn't respond to your requests for forms does not mean you don't need to meet the deadline. If we don't supply them in time, find some other way of getting them. We are not going to accept "but you didn't send the forms" as an excuse for late filing. If you miss the deadline, you'll have penalties imposed.

Seriously, in one day?

The e-mail talks of the 31 January as the deadline that appears to mean on or before 31 Jan, but when? Close of business i.e. 5pm, ish, or midnight? The lack of precision where consequences can flow is deplorable.

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