As the third government shutdown of 2018 lingers into the New Year without a resolution in sight, the White House announced on Monday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will pay tax refunds even though the agency is subject to the federal government shutdown, reversing a longstanding policy.
When the impasse over a border wall began on December 21st, predictions of an extended stalemate raised concerns with the start of tax-filing season looming on January 28th. The IRS is one of the agencies typically most affected by government shutdowns; however, this week’s decision by the Trump Administration aims to allow billions of dollars to be released to taxpayers in the coming months.
But questions about efficiencies and who will process the returns remain. It is estimated that only about 12 percent of IRS staff will resume working through the shutdown. So, taxpayers can expect at a minimum a reduction in services such as not answering phone calls nor processing amended returns.
The IRS is still working on contingencies if the shutdown continues. They recently issued a new publication that will help taxpayers better understand the reform to enable them to begin setting up their best possible tax scenario. Publication 5307 can be accessed with other beneficial information from IRS.gov/getready. Publication 5307 provides information about increases to the standard deduction, suspending personal exemptions, increasing and adding credits and limiting or discontinuing certain deductions, and more.