How the government shutdown will affect tax returns and refunds

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While many Americans who rely on a refund to offset holiday costs or give them a beginning-of-the-year boost, President Donald Trump has said he will keep the government closed until Democrats agree to fund the border wall.

The IRS can not process taxes if the government is still shut down; which means you may not see your tax refund as soon as previous years.


Neal wrote to Charles Rettig, the head of the IRS, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to request information about how the shutdown will affect the IRS's ability to process tax returns and provide refunds.

Right now, there's no word on when the IRS workers may return to the office. But, be prepared to adjust your budget accordingly if you have to wait for a refund.


While refunds may be delayed, if you owe the government money, you will still have to pay it on-time. That includes questions about how the new tax law may have changed things for this year's W-2 forms, which they must send out by the end of January. People in Wichita who make the trip to the IRS Tax Assistance Center will get the same message only via a sign informing visitors there will be no help until the shutdown is over.

During the shutdown, the IRS has lost funding and is operating with about 12% of its employees, according to Rubin.


The IRS typically begins accepting tax returns at the end of January, and early filers can see refunds hit their account as early as February. By Feb. 16, the IRS had paid $101.2 billion to almost 32 million households. The IRS is already going to have to update its contingency plan now that the shutdown has lasted longer than five business days. This is also one of the more noticeable functions performed by the IRS that taxpayers would be likely to miss if payments were to be delayed.

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