Government Shutdown’s Impact on Filings and Refunds.

How could the government shutdown impact my tax filing?

As we sit here today on January 21, 2019, the government shutdown is now approaching its 30th day.  Politics aside, government workers, contractors that work on government contracts, and millions of others who service or transact business with these families have been impacted, and for that reason, we all wish that this would come to a quick resolution.
Despite the government shutdown, and a majority of IRS offices either closed or understaffed, tax season and tax filing deadlines move forward.  We hope this brief update will help you navigate the potential impact the shutdown may have on you.  

First, if you are currently attempting to resolve a dispute with the IRS please take note of the following:  If you are trying to communicate with the IRS  to clear up a tax notice received by the IRS through submission of additional documents or phone call/fax correspondence; our office suggests that any payment or documentation being mailed to the  IRS be sent through certified mail with tracking.  Packages often get misplaced or lost when sending to the IRS during normal working conditions, and the likelihood that this will occur in a government shutdown is much greater.  As always, keep copies of your documents you send in, proof of mailing receipt, and make notes for future reference.  Our office has been largely unsuccessful in attempts to speak with a live person at the IRS since the shutdown.  We have been unsuccessful in attempts to fax documents to the IRS during the shutdown, receiving a kickback on all faxes sent since the shutdown began.  When the shutdown does end, expect even longer call times and difficulty getting in person appointments with the IRS as their schedule will be heavy for a few months following the shutdown.
Preparing for this year’s tax deadline:  Continue to collect and gather your year-end tax documents, such as W2s, 1099s, 1098s, K1s, etc.  The deadline for companies to submit tax documents to employees and investors has not changed.  You should still receive all your tax-related documents as you have in years past.  If you are missing a tax document contact the employer, bank or issuing company that had previously sent it and confirm they issued that document this year.  The IRS does have an online tool to access tax transcripts if you need a history of a prior year’s tax returns. 

It is our understanding that the IRS is accepting submission of tax returns, and as stated previously no filing deadlines have been adjusted as a result of the shutdown.  So keep getting your tax documents loaded into our Intuit Link portal so that our staff can prepare your return in a timely manner.

The final impact that a majority of taxpayers are concerned about is the issuance of tax refunds.  We have received mixed signals on the impact the shutdown could have on your tax refund.  In prior shutdowns tax refunds have been delayed.  However, the current administration has committed to the public that refunds will not be delayed.  As of 1/15/2019 60% of the IRS workforce had been re-called to their positions to ensure that during the shutdown refunds could still be issued.  We urge our clients that are concerned about receiving their refunds to take time to make sure they have collected all of their tax documents, submit them to our office and file for a refund using direct deposit for the 2019 filing season.  Properly collecting tax documents will ensure that the IRS does not hold up your refund.  In addition, clients will need to review and monitor their checking account to ensure that a correct refund was deposited after submission.  Although no delay is expected in issuing refunds we could see an influx of early submission of tax returns from US taxpayers in general, which could overload the already limited number of IRS staff currently working.  
If you have additional questions regarding the shutdown and its impact on your tax return, please contact our office. 

As always, we look forward to working with all our clients this tax season.

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