Yes, Tax Filing Season Begins January 28, 2019


Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and 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.

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. 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 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 FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days.

“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,” said Rettig.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.

What is the Filing Deadline?

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers.  Because of the Patriots’ Day holiday on April 15 in Maine and Massachusetts and the Emancipation Day holiday on April 16 in the District of Columbia, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts have until April 17, 2019 to file their returns.

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 later this month. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

Taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit may experience a refund hold.

According to the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the IRS cannot issue these refunds before mid-February. The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting February 27, 2018, if these taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.

Where’s My Refund? ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app will be updated February 17 for the vast majority of early filers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit. These taxpayers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund? or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so Where’s My Refund? remains the best way to check the status of a refund. Where’s My Refund? is only updated once daily, usually overnight, so checking it more often will not produce new or different results.

Why is my refund being held?

If you claim the EITC or ACTC on your tax return, the IRS cannot issue your refund before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund — even the portion not associated with the EITC or ACTC. Like previous years, some tax refunds may be held if there are questions about the tax return or the IRS needs more information.

When will I get my refund?

The IRS expects the earliest EITC/ACTC related refunds to be available in taxpayer bank accounts or debit cards starting February 27, 2018, if these taxpayers chose direct deposit and there are no other issues with their tax return.

Why does it take so long for the funds to show up in my account?

It takes additional time for refunds to be processed after leaving the IRS, and for financial institutions to accept and deposit them to bank accounts and products like debit cards. Also many financial institutions do not process payments on weekends or holidays, which can affect when refunds reach taxpayers. For EITC and ACTC filers, the three-day holiday weekend involving President’s Day affects their refund timing.

How do I check the status of my refund?

Where’s My Refund ‎on IRS.gov and the IRS2Go mobile app remains the best way to check the status of a refund. Where’s My Refund will be updated with projected deposit dates for most early EITC and ACTC refund filers on February 17 so those filers will not see a refund date on Where’s My Refund ‎or through their software packages until then. The IRS, tax preparers and tax software will not have additional information on refund dates, so these filers should not contact or call about refunds before the end of February.

Do you Have a Federal Tax Problem You Need Help With?

The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic can consult with you to provide advice regarding your IRS tax problem, and/or potentially act on your behalf for FREE if you qualify for assistance (come to a clinic intake session)!
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Jim Floyd is the Staff Enrolled Agent at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic – Low Income Taxpayer Clinic. As an Enrolled Agent, Jim is a federally-licensed tax practitioner with unlimited rights to represent clients before the Internal Revenue Service. This means he is unrestricted as to which taxpayers he can represent, what types of tax matters he can handle, and which IRS offices he can represent clients before. Enrolled agent status is the highest credential the IRS awards.

Jim is also a member of The American Society of Tax Problem Solvers (ASTPS), a non-profit professional association of practitioners that specialize in representing taxpayers before the IRS and other taxing authorities. Membership in ASTPS reflects commitment to excellence and high standards in taxpayer representation

Source: Internal Revenue Service