As you probably know if you are paying any kind of attention to events OUTSIDE of Birmingham (which, this week, you’d certainly be sane if you DIDN’T pay attention to the national news), the government is in “shutdown mode”.
This means that unless the President and Congress can come together on a budget agreement, a slew of government agencies will be minimally staffed (which might even affect us here in Birmingham), and all kinds of things will be affected — not least of which will be the 800,000 or so federal employees who will be going without pay. We’ll keep you posted.
As for the IRS itself, we’re hearing noises (though nothing definite) that the filing season might be affected, at least in terms of refunds. Certainly there will be no refunds being issued DURING the shutdown, because the agency will be restricting itself to actions that are “Necessary for the Safety of Human Life or Protection of Government Property The Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 amended the Anti-Deficiency Act.”
We can spend days sorting through what that actually means, but basically these are IRS activities that help the agency collect money, as best it can in shutdown situations, to keep the rest of the federal government going.
And without going into a list, there are plenty of things the IRS will NOT be doing during a shutdown, specifically those “regular, ongoing functions whose suspension would not pose an imminent threat to life and property.” Basically things that the IRS has determined aren’t key to the agency’s job of collecting taxes.
So that’s that, I suppose.
But even within this holiday season full of conflict and shutdown, I’m ever more encouraged to see outside of my own situation, and practice empathy for those around me — both here in Birmingham and around the country.
And as the years go along, I’m increasingly aware of how this holiday season is a time of joy for many, as well as a time of pain for a significant portion of my contacts as well. Missing loved ones, loneliness, and pain can sometimes be the most prominent decorations of this season, and if that’s the case for you, know that you are not alone, and that you are loved and appreciated.
And not just by us here at Team Hancock, but undoubtedly by more people than you could possibly imagine. THAT is the bottom-line, real-world truth, whether you believe it or not right now.
So it’s fitting that I would leave you today with my annual holiday prayer. May it ever be true in our lives…
Randall M. Hancock CPA, PC’s Holiday Prayer
“People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.” -St. Augustine
“God, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.
“Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
“Remind us, Lord, that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares …
“Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
“Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love. “
Randall M. Hancock CPA, PC