The federal government shutdown is still in effect, so what does that mean for those who want to file early? You can still do it and here are some tax tips to help you be prepared. 

Taxes and the Shutdown

Federal workers have been furloughed as part of the shutdown.  This included IRS employees, but the IRS announced this past week that it will recall a “significant” share of its employees to work as the 2019 tax season nears. Here is the IRS annoucement.

When can you file?

Jan. 28 is the official start date for the 2019 tax season, and the IRS will start processing returns on that date, the agency said in its announcement. You don’t have to wait until the 28th to file.  Many software companies and tax professionals will happily do your taxes now.  Just note that they will submit them on January 28th to the IRS.

The IRS does advise taxpayers to file their returns electronically. This helps you receive a speedy refund, as well as to minimize errors. 

Will my refund be delayed?

The IRS indicates that the recalled workers will be working to issue refunds as scheduled.  They feel that the number of employees recalled should be able to handle 60-70% of phone calls seeking IRS assistance.

In the past during shutdowns the IRS was prohibited from dispensing refunds when Congress had not approved money to fund the Treasury Department.  “We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said.

So that is a change from previous shutdowns and is good news. 

When are taxes due?

This past week the IRS also announced the official date for Tax Day 2019. For most taxpayers, returns are due by Monday, April 15. For those in Maine and Massachusetts, however, returns are not due until April 17 due to regional holidays.