• Tax refunds could be delayed due to government shutdown

    By: Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - With a partial government shutdown now in its second full week and tax season quickly approaching, the impasse could impact tax refunds.

    While the Internal Revenue Service, one of the agencies impacted by the shutdown, continues to collect Americans’ money, it generally doesn’t issue tax refunds during a government shutdown.

    Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr reports about 13 percent of the IRS workforce is actually working. That's fewer than 10,000 people.

    The agency had a five-day contingency plan for a shutdown, but the closure has now stretched beyond the IRS’ plan.

    Despite the shutdown, the agency continues some operations, including protecting government property, processing some tax returns, continuing criminal investigations and maintaining computer systems.


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    What won’t happen during a shutdown are audits, responses to taxpayers’ questions and tax refunds.

    “We’re in uncharted territory as each day gets longer,” Jackson Hewitt Tax Services chief tax officer Mark Steber told the WSJ.

    If the impasse is resolved before mid-January, the traditional start of tax season, it most likely won’t have a major impact on early tax filers and, even if the shutdown continues, once the IRS begins accepting tax returns, people can begin filing.

    But they won’t get a refund until the government reopens, which could put pressure on the Trump administration to end the impasse.

    The government partially closed down on Dec. 22 when President Donald Trump refused to sign a spending bill that did not include $5 billion for a border wall with Mexico, one of his campaign promises, and House Democrats refused to agree to a bill that included money for a border wall, saying border security was a separate issue.

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