Washington, DC – The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds as scheduled despite the partial government shutdown, according to a statement from the agency.
“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.
“IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years,” added Rettig.
The agency is able to issue refunds as Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324). In its statement, the IRS noted that it has “consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations.” Although in 2011 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse, the IRS noted.
The IRS is also planning to recall a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work.
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, the IRS advised “no need to wait to file,” adding, “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. Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live there have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.
Software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before January 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open later this month. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.
The White House additionally confirmed the IRS statement as acting White House budget director Russ Vought said, “Tax refunds will go out.”
In a statement, Democrat from Massachusetts and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal wanted to see “a more detailed description of how the agency will carry out these operations, particularly what will be expected of Treasury and IRS personnel.”
There is more interest in this tax season as the tax cuts which President Donald Trump signed into law late December last year will kick in. The tax cuts include an estimated $3.2 trillion in tax cuts for American families and businesses. The new tax cuts narrowed itemized deductions to simplify the tax code. However, it nearly doubled the standard deduction for individuals from $6,350 to $12,000 and for married couples filing jointly from $12,700 to $24,000.