IRS Opens Up on Government Shutdown and Tax Refunds
The current “government shutdown,” is in its third week. Some government agencies are not impacted, while others are working with decreased staffs and reduced operations. The IRS is one such agency impacted by the shutdown and has furloughed many of its employees.
There was some uncertainty that if the shutdown continued, it might impact the issuance of tax refunds for the upcoming filing season from 2018 individual tax returns. The IRS announced on January 7, 2019 (please click here to read this IRS Announcement) the following:
- First, the IRS said it will begin accepting 2018 tax returns for processing on Monday, January 28, 2019. This is about the same time they started last year.
- Next, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig indicated that the IRS will be processing 2018 tax returns and issuing refunds to taxpayers as they have done in prior years. There was some question whether tax refunds would be issued or perhaps delayed because of the government shutdown. Rettig, however, mentioned that the IRS has analyzed the situation and stated they will be able to issue tax refunds this year.
- The IRS will continue to carry out various functions during the shutdown, even though many of its employees have been furloughed. It is unsure what areas of the IRS might see some delays or disruptions this upcoming filing season due to the shutdown.
We will continue to monitor this situation. With this government shutdown, the IRS will be challenged to keep pace with tax returns this year, but they have promised to continue processing returns and issuing refunds. They will also be tested on another front, as this is the first filing season with tax returns including changes from last year’s “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (TCJA). This could result in some interruptions and confusion as TCJA guidance is still needed in several areas and new forms must be developed. Yes, it will likely be a busier busy season this year. Stay tuned. . .