Government Shutdown Could Delay Your Tax Refund

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Finally, even though the IRS may not conduct audits during a shutdown, remember that they can (and will) conduct audits once the shutdown has ended!

The federal government remains partially shut down as President Donald Trump refuses to sign a spending deal that doesn't include $5 billion for his wall at the US-Mexico border.

During a government shutdown, the IRS can accept returns-but it cannot pay out refunds.

A decrease in the number of IRS workers means that tax services aren't able to send information as quickly as usual, which in turn may cause a delay in refunds.

Local IRS buildings continue to remain closed, some employees are still furloughed and no appointments can be made either while the government is closed. With little or no income-tax liability, these taxpayers often use a sizable refund to help pay down debt, the publication says.

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Tax refunds are among the non-excepted agency activities listed.

Normally during the first week of January, Kendria Angrand from Liberty Tax Service in Stroud Township starts taking calls from people asking if the place is open.

While the lack of refunds could affect early filers, it's less likely to do so for those in higher tax brackets.

The IRS issued an operational plan for a shutdown lasting five days, which kept about one in eight employees working. However, if the government doesn't open by then, he said it's nearly guaranteed that refunds will be delayed. WSJ reported the IRS paid out $12.6 billion in refunds by February 2 of past year. The IRS is already going to have to update its contingency plan now that the shutdown has lasted longer than five business days.

That means most workers whose duties range from answering taxpayer questions to paying out refunds typically aren't at work.