The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced, despite the government shutdown, it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation, and the IRS believes 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, the OMB has reviewed the relevant law at the Treasury’s request and concluded the IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse.
The IRS announced it will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated Fiscal Year 2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan, to be released publicly in the coming days.
The IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. Taxpayers who have all of the needed documentation need not wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.
The IRS says 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.