Government Shutdown and Tax Refunds – When to File, When You’ll Get Your Refund

With the start of a new year comes the start of tax season. Employers hand out W-2s and 1099s, and taxpayers start organizing tax forms. But with the current partial government shutdown in effect since December 22, 2018, there’s one question on every taxpayer’s mind right now: will the government shutdown affect tax returns?

In short, dealing with a government shutdown and tax refunds at the same time means filing on time and potentially waiting longer than usual to receive your refund.

Will the Government Shutdown Affect Tax Returns for 2018?

The IRS confirmed that, despite the government shutdown, it will process tax returns starting on January 28 and will issue refunds as scheduled. Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation. Further details for the filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan.

In previous years, shutdown contingency plans included the IRS accepting tax returns during the filing season, but refunds were delayed until the government was funded. The current plan for the 2018 tax refunds have the IRS processing returns and providing refunds, even if the government is still shut down.

Can I Still File My Taxes With the Government Shutdown?

It’s advised to proceed as normal regarding the IRS and the shutdown. Taxpayers still need to file a tax return on time. The IRS will start accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins on Monday, January 28, 2019. The filing deadline for most taxpayers to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019.

If you prefer to file early in order to receive your refund earlier, you can still do so. You can file when you have all of the needed documentation and are ready to submit a complete and accurate return.

Are Tax Refunds Going To Be Delayed This Year?

About 85% of the 70,000 IRS staff members were furloughed during the shutdown. The IRS says it will be recalling a portion of its workforce to work through tax returns. It’s unclear how many employees will return, so tax refunds may be delayed in comparison to previous years.

No matter what the staffing level at the IRS, taxpayers are still expected to file their tax returns on time. IRS employees will continue process returns and issue refunds.

How long does it take to get tax refund?

Refund processing time depends on how you file. Taxpayers who submit an e-file could expect to see their refund directly deposited within 21 days. For mailed-in returns, it can take the IRS up to 6-8 weeks to process and mail your refund. The IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronically in order to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

To check the status of your federal tax refund, you can visit Where’s My Refund, provided by the IRS. Indiana taxpayers can check their Indiana tax refunds and delays at the Department of Revenue Refund Status portal.

Tax Preparation Services for Indiana Taxpayers

From now until January 28, Watson CPA and other tax professionals are accepting and helping taxpayers prepare their returns. Individuals and small business owners in Carmel, Westfield and the greater Indianapolis area can schedule a free consultation with Watson CPA.

At Watson CPA, our team of Certified Public Accountants provide industry-leading accounting services and tax preparation for individuals and businesses. We’ll make sure your Indiana tax refund is accurate and filed correctly. Get ahead of the game with your tax return by calling us now at 317-848-9938!

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