A continued federal government shutdown rang in 2019, and the impact is being felt by more and more Americans every day. Among the impacted agencies is the Internal Revenue Service.

What does this mean for you?

With only about 40% of IRS staff working right now, any exams or refunds in progress are halted. Phone lines are closed, including the Practitioner Priority Service – a special number that I, and numerous other professionals, use to resolve complicated issues for our clients. A prolonged shutdown could push out the beginning of the 2018 tax return filing season, which typically begins toward the end of January. Add to this the challenge of implementing new tax laws under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and it’s clear that nearly any taxpayer or tax advisor that needs to interact with the IRS in the coming months is going to have difficulties.

What does this not mean for you?

If you owe the IRS – payroll tax deposits, estimated tax payments, etc. – you can’t get out of these timely remittances, as the IRS continues to collect taxes during the shutdown. Income and payroll taxes are the majority of federal revenues; lack of collections would make the situation even worse than it is. This also doesn’t mean you should postpone getting everything in order to file your 2018 tax returns. At some point, hopefully soon, the IRS will start accepting 2018 returns, and you’ll want to be ready.

If you have any questions about how the shutdown impacts your particular tax situation, don’t hesitate to reach out.