2019 Government Shutdown: Will Your Tax Refund Be Impacted?

2019 government shutdown tax refund

With the ongoing government shutdown extending into tax season, many taxpayers are wondering what it will mean for filing their taxes and getting their returns. According to the IRS website, “[The IRS is] committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown.”

This means that you can move forward with your taxes as usual and the IRS doesn’t expect the shutdown to have any impact on filing your taxes or receiving your refund.

What does this mean for my tax return?

Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service confirmed on January 7, 2019 that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019, the originally scheduled date, and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

While tax forms cannot be submitted to the IRS until January 28th, online tax assistance providers, like TaxSlayer, will still gather your information beforehand and send it to the IRS once the tax season officially opens. It is encouraged to file online to minimize errors and process faster returns. Read more about the advantages of filing online.

When are my taxes due?

As is customary, taxes are due by April 15, 2019 for Americans working domestically outside of Maine and Massachusetts. Residents of those states have until April 17, 2019 to file due to the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15th. American employees working abroad have until June, as usual, to file theirs.

Why choose TaxSlayer to file my tax refund?

Given the sweeping changes to the American tax code that recently took place and the fact that IRS employees are currently unpaid due to the government shutdown, filing online with TaxSlayer is vital now more than ever. With accuracy guarantees that prevent you from having to pay penalties due to errors or mistakes, faster processing by submitting your information electronically, and the option to have your refunds directly deposited into your bank account, TaxSlayer offers the best chance of experiencing a quick and smooth tax filing experience in these uncertain times.

The History of Government Shutdowns and Tax Returns

Each year the IRS creates a Lapse in Appropriations Contingency Plan as a safeguard which outlines what the department policies and procedures will look like in the case of a shutdown. The IRS has always operated with the understanding that a government shutdown would not affect taxpayers filing taxes and receiving their tax returns. Although the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS in 2011 not to pay refunds due to a shutdown, the Department of Treasury has since asked the OMB to review those policies, and they determined that refunds can be paid during a lapse in government operations.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 outlines new tax laws, meaning tax professionals nationwide spent the past year familiarizing themselves with the new tax codes. “IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.

Combining that with several IRS employees being furloughed due to the shutdown adds additional challenges. However, many of those workers are being called back into work according to the IRS website, so it should not affect everyday taxpayers.

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This article is up to date and accounts for tax law changes for tax year 2018 (tax returns filed in 2019). Learn more about tax reform enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act here.

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