Congress, not the Internal Revenue Service, is to blame for the recently announced postponement of the beginning of next year’s tax season, according to the National Conference of CPA Practitioners -- and it called on the legislative branch to take quick action to prevent further delays.

Speaking at a dinner celebrating the organization’s 35th anniversary, NCCPAP’s president, Ed Caine, said, “The IRS announced the delay, but the American public understands that it is Congress calling the shots. We believe Congress is handicapping the IRS’s ability to serve its two major stakeholders: the general public and the federal government.  We believe cutting off the government’s income supply could be devastating and in order to avert significant economic effects, the IRS must stay open as usual.”  

Caine denounced Congress for the recent 16-day shutdown of the federal government that stalled IRS preparations and caused the service to push back the original starting date of the 2014 filing season. (See “IRS: Shutdown to Delay Tax Season.”) He warned that another potential conflict looms in mid-January, and called on Congress to act quickly to avoid another shutdown, citing the devastating financial consequences.

Among other things, during a shutdown, the IRS would continue to require and accept tax payments -- but may delay refunds. Steve Mankowski, chair of NCCPAP’s Tax Policy Committee, said, “The effect of the IRS accepting payments but delaying refunds is the same as pulling cash out of the economy, because people worried about their refunds won’t spend as much money during the holiday season.”  

“When Americans spend less money, small businesses are hurt financially, in addition to the local governments who depend on those businesses for tax revenue,” said Caine.

NCCPAP also expressed concern that the delayed tax season would impact both its members’ businesses, and taxpayers who rely on early refunds, and said that its members across the country will be reaching out to Congress to oppose another shutdown.

NCCPAP’s members are practicing CPA firms who represent over 1 million businesses and individual clients.