Government shutdown could make it tough for tax-filers

Ann Santiago
January 7, 2019

You do, however, still have to pay your taxes by April 15, as the limited Internal Revenue Service staff remaining will still be processing payments from taxpayers during this time. However, the IRS will not process refunds.

But those hoping that an IRS shutdown means a breather on their taxes will be disappointed. However, given the length of the shutdown, Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union told Politico more employees will have to work without pay to account for filing season. "So there's no way that a shutdown is helpful", said Steven Miller, a former acting IRS commissioner.

The IRS contingency plan said that 9,946 agency employees (12.5% of the IRS workforce) for FY 2019 are considered exempt and therefore authorized to remain working during a shutdown. He said some taxpayers were also going to see a delay so the government can make sure their documents aren't fraudulent. That's on top of an already complicated tax season, due to the myriad of new regulations ushered in by 2017's sweeping tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

A delay in tax refunds is likely to disproportionately affect low-income Americans, The Wall Street Journal reports. As of Friday, it's unclear when filing season begins. But if it drags on, taxpayers across the country likely will feel the impact - if income tax refunds are delayed. However, if the government doesn't open by then, he said it's nearly guaranteed that refunds will be delayed.

Soon it will be time to file your tax returns.

Bearden said before the shutdown, the IRS was still trying to update its systems to process taxes with the new laws passed a year ago.

The office manager says there are some questions that can't be answered, but what she is advising customers to start getting tax paperwork together now.

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