Tax Season Opening Announced; Refunds to be Issued Despite Shutdown

Due to the partial government shutdown, the IRS is only operating with about 12.5 percent of its staff. However, on January 7, 2019, the IRS announced that tax filing season will begin on January 28, 2019. More surprisingly, despite a long history of contrary government shutdown policies, the White House concurrently assured taxpayers that refunds will be issued. The IRS confirmed this and issued IR-2019-01, stating that "[w]e are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown."

Although it's not entirely clear how the IRS will accomplish this while under the effects of the shutdown, the IRS indicated in IR-2019-01 that it will bring back a "significant portion" of its employees, and that additional details are forthcoming in an updated 2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan soon to be released. Presumably, the updated plan will clarify whether or not taxpayer services will reopen.

Even without the effects of a shutdown, this filing season was already projected to be particularly complicated due to the large number of recent tax-law changes. Although, many uncertainties remain, taxpayers are well-advised not to wait for the shutdown's end to file their returns.

Please stay tuned for more information and further developments.


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