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Here's What the Shutdown Means for Filing Your Taxes

IRS says it will recall staff to process returns on time

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The IRS said Monday it will begin processing tax returns on Jan. 28 and pay refunds as scheduled, despite a partial government shutdown now in its third week. 

Financial experts have said that taxpayers should prepare to file returns even during the shutdown, knowing that refunds could be affected. But the IRS said Monday it will recall a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, and will process refunds as it normally does.

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During previous federal government shutdowns, refunds were not processed. 

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period.”

Taxpayers who usually file early in the year should file as soon as they have all of the necessary documentation for a complete and accurate return, the IRS said.

For most taxpayers, Monday, April 15, 2019, is the filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts taxpayers who live in those states have until April 17, 2019, to file their returns, the IRS said.

Software companies and tax professionals will accept and prepare tax returns before Jan. 28, then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. To minimize errors and for faster refunds, the IRS “strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically,” the IRS said.

Tax preparers have been concerned about this tax season even without the government shutdown because it is the first tax season that changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 will be in effect.

“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,” Rettig said. Passage of the tax overhaul caused changes in 400 IRS forms, and the agency has revised its tax withholding tables and changed tax rates and brackets. 

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