During the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, many IRS operations are inactive. About 70,000 IRS employees are furloughed (87.5% of its workforce), and most of those who are still on the job are working without pay.
Despite the shutdown the IRS is open for filing season beginning on January 28, 2019. Tax refunds will be issued during the government shutdown, while most other functions of the IRS are halted, including processing of transcripts, audits, and processing amended returns. Additionally, the IRS will not respond to taxpayer questions.
The PATH Act remains in effect which delays refunds for taxpayers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until mid-February. The IRS must hold the entire refund amount until at least February 15th, not just the refundable credit portions. The delay of refunds is in response to the rise of identity theft, causing the IRS to take additional steps to safeguard taxpayer’s private information. Since these types of returns go through additional verification processes taxpayers should anticipate even further additional amounts time before receiving their refunds.
The IRS capability of handling problems during the shutdown is questionable. If a taxpayer has their tax return rejected during the automated filing process they may be waiting a long time for their refund because these types of returns require human interaction.
We recommend E-Filing your income tax returns and file as early as possible. Our E-filing experiences so far have been efficient IRS return receipt acknowledgements and timely direct deposit of taxpayer refunds. Whereas any documents that have been mailed to the IRS have been slow to process.
This article contains general tax information for taxpayers. Each tax situation may be different, so do not rely on this information as your sole source of authority. Contact Steven Cook at Matrix III Income Tax Service, LLC for professional advice for your tax situation. Steven is an expert who keeps current on tax law changes as well as a member of the National Association of Tax Professionals. He can save you time and offer insight on how to use the tax breaks available to you. Call 216-332-7283 for more information.