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A Government Shutdown Doesn’t Shut Down Your Stock Plan

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January 08, 2019 | Barbara Baksa

A Government Shutdown Doesn’t Shut Down Your Stock Plan

We are now entering the third week of the government shutdown, just as work in corporate America is getting back into full swing after the holidays. You might be wondering how this will impact various tasks that involve government agencies. For today's blog entry, I summarize what I know.

SEC Filings

EDGAR remains operational; according to the SEC’s operations plan for government shutdowns, EDGAR is run by a contractor and will remain operational so long as there is funding for the contractor. This means that Section 16 filings, as well as Forms 10-K, 10-Q, and 8-K, can still be filed via EDGAR and are still subject to the applicable filing deadlines.

Requests for EDGAR access codes and password resets will still be processed during the shutdown and SEC personnel are available to assist with emergencies related to EDGAR submissions (I assume “emergencies” refers to technical problems) and answer questions about fee-bearing EDGAR filings. Note, however, that SEC staff are not available to assist with interpretative questions and the SEC is not able to declare registration statements effective during the shutdown. 

One question I have is if EDGAR can remain open during a government shutdown, how come it can’t be open overnight or on weekends? Just saying…


The IRS is still accepting all tax payments and deposits; sorry, but you don’t get a reprieve from the obligation to withhold and deposit tax on any stock plan transactions that occur during the shutdown.

The IRS is also still accepting electronic filing of returns during the shutdown. I assume this includes returns on Form 1099-MISC, 3921, and 3922. The FIRE system is down for maintenance through January 10, so I haven’t been able to log into it to ascertain this for certain, however. Forms 1099-MISC with nonemployee compensation reported in box 7 must be filed by January 31; for all of the other returns I mention, you have until April 1. Hopefully the shutdown will be resolved by then.

If you need to order paper copies of Forms 3921 or 3922, this can still be done via the online order form on the IRS website. There’s no indication that the forms won’t be mailed within the ten-day window that the IRS says they will, but I also notice that, in general, the IRS website hasn’t been updated to provide any information about how the shutdown is affecting their services, which doesn’t instill confidence. I ordered a copy of Form 3921—check back with me in ten days to find out if I have received it.

Hopefully you won’t need any help from the IRS in making the deposits or filing returns (e.g., if you have forgotten your password to the FIRE system) because the IRS support services are closed.

Finally, if you happen to be in the midst of an IRS audit, you get a reprieve; IRS audit activity is suspended during the shutdown.


The FASB is a private institution with private funding, so it shouldn’t be impacted by the shutdown. If you urgently need to look up a paragraph in ASC 718, the Codification system is up and running.


The securities markets are also private sector entities, so they are open as normal. Nothing shuts down Wall Street (well, except holidays, hurricanes, and deaths of presidents).

- Barbara

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