Tax News

2019 Tax Filing: Tax Season to Start Soon Despite Shutdown

The government is still in partial shutdown but the tax season will be right on track. Despite trouble in government budgeting, the Trump administration and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that the issuance of tax refunds will not be affected. The shutdown had thousands of Americans expecting a tax refund worried.  

The IRS recently announced that it can start processing tax returns on Jan. 28, 2019. This date is consistent with the start of the tax season in the last few years. However, Americans can start submitting their tax returns now. The Jan. 28 schedule only pertains to the processing part on the end of the IRS.  

Americans were worried that the government shutdown, which is expected to go on during tax season, will have an effect on the tax returns. Many Americans were excited upon hearing that the tax refund could be bigger this year. MSN Money reported last year that the new tax law, which took effect at the start of 2018, will result in bigger tax refunds. Citizens feared that the shutdown would delay refunds. This fear is not unfounded since historically, the IRS does not pay refunds during a government shutdown. A shutdown refers to the failure of the government to submit appropriation bills to fund federal operations. In this particular case, the shutdown stemmed from President Donald Trump’s demand to fund his promised wall: the $5.6 billion US-Mexico border wall. Democrats in Congress were unwilling to give in to Trump’s demand resulting in an impasse. 

There have been 15 government shutdowns in US history. During shutdowns that fall on tax season, no tax refunds were released. But then again, there has never been a shutdown as long as this. Even worse, this shutdown doesn’t seem to have an end in sight. 

But the White House made it clear that the IRS will be allowed to release tax refunds during the shutdown. This was also confirmed by the IRS. 

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period.” And to ensure that the processing of tax refunds will not be delayed, the IRS also recalled its furloughed workers to help in the operations.  

For the quickest way to get a refund, electronic filing would be the best way to hand over tax returns to the IRS. According to the agency itself, tax refunds for electronically filed tax returns are paid out within 21 days. For those filing by snail mail, they could expect the refund within six weeks. One could check the status of his refund online. On the IRS website, one may click on the “Where’s My Refund” section in order to check the status of the refund. In order to access this, one will need his social security number or ITIN, filing status and exact refund amount. The status will be available within 24 hours of e-filing the tax refund. But for those filing through regular mail, it will take at least four weeks for the status to be available. Those without internet connection could still access the tool by calling 800-829-1954. The status is updated every day.  

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