Despite the shutdown of the Federal government, the IRS confirmed on Monday that it will process tax returns beginning Monday, Jan. 28 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.
Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations. Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that the IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.
The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its furloughed workforce. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released in the coming days.
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15 for most taxpayers. Because of the April 15 Patriots’ Day holiday in Maine and Massachusetts and the April 16 Emancipation Day holiday in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17 to file their returns.
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all required documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
Software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.
“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.