Today marks the 17th day of the government shutdown.
If the shutdown extends into late January and even February, you should expect to not receive your returns until the government reopens. President Trump has no tentative date set for the government to reopen until Republicans and Democrats can come to a settlement regarding the Border Wall.
Here are three things you should know about the affects on your tax return regarding the government shutdown:
TAX RETURN DELAYS – FILE AS USUAL
Filing season usually doesn’t kick off until late January anyways. While the IRS is clearly not at full strength, there are still some IRS employees who are working through the shutdown. It is still unclear how long the shutdown will last and as a result, your tax return processing could be delayed which means a potential delay in receiving your tax refund. Despite this possibility, it is important to ensure that you still file as you normally would. Don’t let this temporary bump in the road change your behavior. File as you normally do!
IT’S THE FIRST FILING SEASON UNDER NEW TCJA
In addition to the shutdown causing tax return delays, take into consideration that this is the first year of filing under the new Tax and Jobs Cuts Act.
With that said, this filing season is expected to be more tedious than previous years. Form 1040 has changed to a “post card” look with six supporting statements for deductions and adjustments.
The government shutdown combined with more time needed to review the new terms may cause more of a delay. There are still some changes that were made in the TCJA that we, as taxpayers and professionals are still waiting on further guidance on from the IRS.
Your return may be delayed, but you still have to pay on time. Make sure you get your fourth quarter estimated tax payment postmarked by January 15, 2019 to avoid penalties and interest. Even though your check might not be cashed due to the government shutdown, it’s important to continue to follow procedures as you normally would.
TAKE ACTION NOW IF RECEIVING YOUR RETURN LATE WILL AFFECT YOUR FINANCES
Often, some individuals are dependent on their return to keep both their business and personal lives afloat.
The tough part of this shutdown is that while the IRS is still somewhat operating, you cannot call the IRS for advice on what to do. If you do, you will find there is an automated message that the IRS telephone assistance is unavailable. If you have any questions, I would recommend using the IRS e-services website (www.irs.gov).
With that said, take action to figure out your other options. Do not hesitate to contact us today to help guide you through confusion! We can take the time to set up an alternative plan of action.
Keith Boyer, CPA