If you want to start working and even filing your taxes, you’re in luck. Now that the partial government shutdown has ended (at least temporarily through Feb. 15) the Internal Revenue Service is processing tax returns starting Jan. 28 and will provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.
“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 in a news release.
Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324), and the IRS has consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations, the IRS said. 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 will be recalling a good portion of its workforce who were furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days, the IRS said in the release.
“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,” Rettig said in the release.
As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who like to file early and have the necessary documents, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they’re ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return, according to the IRS.
The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers.
Software companies and tax professionals will be accepting and preparing tax returns before Jan. 28 and then will submit the returns when the IRS systems open in late January. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds, according to the IRS.
Researching tax return preparers
If you don’t plan on preparing your taxes yourself you can hire a tax preparer. Here are some tips from the IRS if you decide to go this route.
It has a searchable, sortable public directory on IRS.gov that taxpayers can use to research tax return preparers by name, zip code or credential. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications includes PTIN holders who are:
- Credentialed preparers,
- Annual Filing Season Program participants,
- Enrolled actuaries and
- Enrolled retirement plan agents.
(Taxpayers can research a specific tax professional’s credentials or qualifications. The listings are not an endorsement from the IRS, it’s website reports.)