Government shutdown could delay tax refunds

Sunday, 06 Jan, 2019

As a partial government shutdown approaches its two-week point, concerns are growing that a heavily impacted Internal Revenue Service will delay issuing taxpayers' refunds.

"One is that during the shutdown they won't release refunds, so even if you file your tax return until the government reopens, they won't issue you your refunds. A lot of people count on these refunds", Jeff Olsen, Tax Partner Berndt CPA, said.

Tax filing season begins in mid-January, and returns are due to the IRS by April 15, raising the possibility that tax refunds could be delayed.

The IRS is working with limited staff during the partial shutdown. But, if the shutdown continues, he says, "It could be six, seven, or eight weeks".

"All rules still apply, need to get taxes filed, if you owe, pay, need to pay taxes on time", Land said.

The IRS typically shuts down from November through the end of the year to update its systems with annual tax changes, according to tax professionals.

If an individual receives their W-2 or Form 1099 after filing and the information is different than what was claimed, that person can file an amended tax return using Form 1040X.

"Live telephone assistance is not available at this time", an IRS recording said Thursday.

The message also states that "normal operations will return as soon as possible". According to the agency's contingency plan for lapsed appropriations, taxpayer refunds are one of the things that will be affected.

Bearden said before the shutdown, the IRS was still trying to update its systems to process taxes with the new laws passed previous year. "Versus a person who doesn't owe the IRS and is expecting a refund, they won't be getting a refund".