Government shutdown could delay tax refunds

Jonathan Ernst  Reuters FILEA view of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington D.C

Jonathan Ernst Reuters FILEA view of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service headquarters in Washington D.C

H&R Block Senior Tax Analyst Jon Helpling says that taxpayers shouldn't wait for a shutdown resolution before filing their taxes, even if the potential for a lengthy tax refund delay exists.

But fear not! While the Internal Revenue Service now lacks the funds to process refunds, it is fully prepared to process tax returns that include payments to the government.

If the government shutdown is not resolved soon, federal tax refunds will be delayed.

If consumers haven't received tax forms by mid-February, they are advised to contact your employer and request a copy or ask that it be resent, according to the IRS. The tens of thousands of other IRS workers are furloughed, so they're no longer paid or expected to show up to work for the time being.

If the shutdown stretches further, Shattuck says it could affect how quickly early filers get their refunds.

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Tax refunds are among the non-excepted agency activities listed.

Lionel Land has been fielding a lot of emails, texts and Facebook inquiries from people who want to know what the federal government shutdown means for them. "That stalemate raises the prospect of an unprecedented extended closure during the individual income-tax filing season, which typically starts in mid-to-late January".

"They have not addressed yet if the delay is deep into tax season, will they push back the filing deadline?" An analysis by UBS estimated an overall increase of $42 billion to $66 billion in tax refunds this year over 2017.

The agency is now operating with only 12.5 percent of its workforce, with 10,000 federal employees due to the partial government shutdown. This is also one of the more noticeable functions performed by the IRS that taxpayers would be likely to miss if payments were to be delayed.

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