Deal or no deal, taxes due April 18

Published 12:05 am Saturday, April 9, 2011

The good news is that late last night, members of Congress brokered a short-term budget deal to prevent a government shut-down.

The bad news is that even if the long-term deal fails to pass next week, your taxes must be filed in eight days.

“If the federal government shuts down, IRS operations will be severely limited,” the agency said in a statement on its Web site. “However, the underlying tax law remains in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal.”

Tax returns are due on April 18 this year.

There has been a threat of a shutdown since November, when voters gave control of the House of Representatives to Republicans while the Democrats continued to control the Senate and administration. At that time, the GOP vowed that pushing spending cuts would be a major part of its agenda.

Congress has since funded government with a series of temporary measures called continuing resolutions, approving the most recent one on March 17.

That measure expired at midnight.

The House this past week OK’d a bill to continue operations for another week and military operations through the end of the fiscal year. It also cut $12 billion from the budget. The president said he would veto that bill because of the programs that would be cut.

Late last night, negotiators agreed on the framework for a package of $38.5 billion in spending cuts for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The GOP was pushing for $61 billion in cuts.

In a televised interview yesterday, Sen. Richard Shelby, ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, said he hoped a deal would be reached, but said it must be the beginning of a long-term commitment to cut federal spending, “because the country is on the road to financial suicide.”

“I hope that a deal can be reached, but I hope it’s one that at least makes the first down payment on cutting, rather than borrowing and spending,” Shelby said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, emphasized that the current spending fight is only the beginning of a larger fight to curb spending and spur prosperity.

“Uncontrolled spending threatens our whole economy,” he said.

Sessions sharply criticized Democrats for what he called “attacks” on Americans who fought for change in the 2010 election.

“The reason we are now having this needed national dialogue about cutting spending is because everyday Americans stood up and demanded action,” Sessions said. “They should be praised, not condemned.”

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, who took office in January, also criticized Democrats. In a statement Friday afternoon, she said “The goal is to cut spending while keeping the government open.”