No Delay Expected on Tax Refunds as IRS Calls Back 46,000 Employees

Tax season continues despite the government shutdown.
  • The IRS is recalling 46,000 furloughed employees to work during the government shutdown.
  • The IRS will start processing tax returns on Jan. 28, providing refunds as scheduled.
  • These tax refunds will be the first to reflect Trump’s tax reform enacted by Republicans in December 2017.

With the first quarter of 2019 underway, Americans are beginning to file their taxes. But the ongoing federal government shutdown raises questions about whether or not the Internal Revenue Service will function as usual. What does the government shutdown mean for your tax return? In past government shutdowns, the IRS was not permitted to issue refunds due to the Antideficiency Act, which defines which employees can work during government shutdowns, according to Bloomberg.

Fortunately, the IRS has decided against this past interpretation of the Act and is recalling 46,000 furloughed employees to come to work. The IRS will issue refunds to taxpayers even if the U.S. government shutdown extends into the filing season, which begins on Jan. 28, 2019. Monday, April 15, 2019, is the filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns.

Open Tax Season Despite Shutdown Relieves Pressure for Government Compromise

It’s certainly good news to hear that tax refunds will be going out as scheduled. However, this impacts the government shutdown in an important way: By being able to continue near-normal operations, the IRS is relieving what could be significant political pressure on the federal government to reach a deal on the budget. Removing this possible incentive for a compromise means the shutdown has more of a chance to continue indefinitely.

Related: These Services Aren’t Available During the Government Shutdown

For Republicans, this tax season is crucial. It’s the first time their new tax legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, will have an impact on American taxpayers. With Republicans touting the benefits of Trump’s tax reform, more than 18.3 million Americans claimed $12.6 billion in refunds within the first week of the tax filing season.

How to File Your Tax Returns During the Government Shutdown

Only about 12 percent of the IRS staff is expected to work during government shutdowns outside of filing season, according to the IRS’s contingency plan. This could potentially hinder some processes, such as answering taxpayer questions before tax season begins on Jan. 28.

Either way, you can start filing your taxes now and expect your refund as scheduled.

Keep reading to find out ways to check your IRS refund status.

More on Taxes

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