In summary: the IRS is partially shut down and yes, you still have to pay your taxes on time.
The bad news: you may not be able to receive your refund as long as the government is still shut down.
While I don’t want to get into the political side of this issue, I do want to inform you on what you need to know concerning your taxes with tax season right around the corner.
While the IRS created a contingency plan for the first five days of the shutdown, this plan ended on December 31st. The longer the shutdown lasts, the IRS will have to rework this plan. You are still able to file your taxes both by mail and online. Due to the shutdown, the IRS planned on keeping only 12.5% of its workforce and the other tens of thousands of employees would be furloughed. If the shutdown continues into the end of January or even February, some of these workers may be expected to come back to work without pay. Because the IRS doesn’t get extremely busy with tax season until the beginning of February, if the government shutdown doesn’t last more than another week or two, there should not be a huge effect on the time to receive your tax refund or the processing of your return.
Another area which may prove to be an issue is with the new tax legislation passed in 2017 – the TCJA. With these new tax laws comes the implementation of new tax forms, form instructions and publications which all still need to be finalized. This was a concern before the government shutdown and now as the shutdown lingers, the problem will only get worse.
Right now, the IRS is on a non-filing season shutdown plan which means that they are not auditing, updating tax forms or even answering the phone. When you call in, you will receive a pre-recorded message: “Welcome to the Internal Revenue Service. Live telephone assistance is not available at this time.” This may not be a concern for most, with the new tax laws there are a lot more questions to be answered than in years past.
Obviously, the IRS will continue to function at some level because they need the revenues that will be coming in the next few months through tax filing, but the process may be more frustrating than normal this year. Last year, the IRS began their filing season on January 29th, 2017. By the end of the first week on February 2nd, they had received $18.4 million in returns and processed 6.1 million refunds. The IRS has yet to designate a day that the official filing season will open. We can still help you with your return while the shutdown is in effect, the return will just be delayed. Our calendars are open and tax season is right around the corner.
Call us at 281-440-6279 to ask a question about your taxes or schedule your appointment.