Will the Government Shutdown Affect My Tax Refund?

IRS, tax news | January 04, 2019 | By Susannah McQuitty

Graphic of the Capitol building with a stop sign behind

The government shutdown that has been in effect from late December through early January has thrown many Americans for a loop. What’s different? What stays the same? And what are the long-term consequences of a shutdown for your taxes?

With tax season just around the corner (1040.com opens January 7), taxpayers may be sweating about their refunds. So how can you expect the shutdown to affect your tax situation?

The government shutdown and your refund

The shutdown will not affect the amount of your tax refund. No matter how long it goes, you won’t be docked any money that the IRS owes you if you’re due a refund—but how soon you receive that refund is a bit different.

Typically, no tax refunds will be issued while the government is at a standstill. The good news is that, as far as the current situation goes, most people aren’t even ready to file their taxes yet. By the time you finish your return and expect to receive a refund, the shutdown should be a thing of the past.

What tax-related services will be affected by the government shutdown?

Other tax-related services affected by the shutdown

While it’s hard to say for certain which government operations will stay intact, there are some tax-related services that, as a rule, are put on hold during a shutdown. Amended returns and non-disaster relief transcripts won’t be processed, and non-automated collections audits also take a back burner.

Other, more critical tax-related services will likely not be affected. For example, taxpayers can still e-file, the IRS will still be processing tax returns, and call centers will remain open.

The bottom line

Government shutdowns can affect how soon taxpayers receive their tax refunds, but no one has refunds on the way in early January; the IRS isn’t even processing returns yet. While most tax-related services that are suspended during a shutdown are not in high demand at this time of year, keeping an eye on the 1040.com blog will help you stay in the know.

You can still start on your taxes by e-filing with 1040.com—even if the shutdown is still in effect, we’ll hang onto your tax return and have it ready for the IRS as soon as they begin processing.


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