tax refunds

Will the Government Shutdown Delay My Tax Refund?

Despite the shutdown, the IRS says it will provide refunds to taxpayers without delay. We’re not so sure.

As the record-setting government shutdown drags on and thousands of IRS employees sit at home, many Americans are understandably concerned about getting their tax refunds on time. However, the IRS has said that refunds will go out “as scheduled.” Whether that actually happens remains to be seen.

How will they do this? The IRS says that a significant portion of its workforce will be called back to work to process tax returns and issue refunds. More details regarding the IRS’s plans are expected soon, but there’s already resistance from the National Treasury Employees Union. The union has filed a lawsuit challenging the IRS’s ability to force employees to work without pay. If the IRS can’t recall enough employees, then the plan to issue refunds in a timely manner seems shaky.

Back in 2011, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) instructed the IRS not to pay refunds during government shutdowns. As a result, almost $4 billion in tax refunds were delayed following the October 2013 shutdown. Now, however, the OMB says the IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse in funding. Legal challenges to this opinion could also sink the IRS’s plan.

We won’t have to wait too long to see if the IRS is able to keep its promise. Filing season begins January 28, 2019. If the IRS is indeed on schedule this year, refunds for early-bird filers could be issued as soon as mid-February. Our advice: File as early as possible. If the IRS falls behind schedule due to the shutdown, you don’t want your return at the back of a potentially massive backlog.

Most Popular

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS has an online tool that lets you track the status of your second stimulus check.
January 18, 2021
Biden Calls for $1,400 Payments as Part of $1.9 Trillion Relief Package
Coronavirus and Your Money

Biden Calls for $1,400 Payments as Part of $1.9 Trillion Relief Package

Under Biden's plan for a third stimulus check, the $600 second-round stimulus checks would be increased to $2,000.
January 14, 2021
When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?
Coronavirus and Your Money

When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?

President-elect Joe Biden and others in Congress are pushing for a third-round of stimulus checks, but it might be a while before we get them.
January 18, 2021

Recommended

The Recovery Rebate Credit: Get Your Full Stimulus Check Payment With This Tax Credit
Tax Breaks

The Recovery Rebate Credit: Get Your Full Stimulus Check Payment With This Tax Credit

If you didn't get a stimulus check, or you didn't get the full amount, you may be able to claim the recovery rebate credit on your 2020 tax return.
January 18, 2021
How to Handle an IRS Audit of Your Tax Return
tax returns

How to Handle an IRS Audit of Your Tax Return

Don't panic! Keys to success include being well prepared, establishing credibility right from the start, and keeping your wits about you.
January 15, 2021
When Can You File Your Taxes This Year?
tax filing

When Can You File Your Taxes This Year?

If you're an early bird when it comes to filing your tax return, you'll have to wait a little longer this year before the IRS will accept your return.
January 15, 2021
12 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees
retirement

12 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees

Seniors Beware: Your actions can increase the chances of the IRS giving your tax return a closer look.
January 14, 2021