Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service said this week that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019; and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig.
A written statement from the IRS said that they will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work.
“Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days,” the statement read.
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins.
“For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file,” IRS officials say. “They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.”
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers.
The IRS statement advises that software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. The IRS says they strongly encourage people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.
Some experts question whether the Trump administration has the legal authority to reverse those earlier policies to allow the government to issue refunds during a shutdown. The acting director of the White House budget office, Russell Vought, framed the move as part of President Donald Trump’s goal to make the shutdown “as painless as possible.”