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  • Last modified 7 days ago (Jan. 10, 2019)

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Government shutdown
may delay tax refunds

Staff writer

People who file income tax returns early will likely need to be patient this year because of the partial federal shutdown.

Income tax returns are not likely to be processed until the shutdown ends.

“They won’t get their refund until then,” Melody Freeman of Meier Tax Service, said. “They won’t go ahead and process them at IRS.”

Filers can go online at IRS.gov check the status of their refund.

“That’s about the only thing we can tell them,” she said. “Go to the website and click on ‘Refunds,’ then click on ‘Where’s My Refund?’ and check the status. It asks for information that has to match the return.”

Freeman doesn’t expect the “Where’s My Refund?” feature to be up and running until at least Jan. 15.

“Right now I’d say we’d be lucky to have it up by a month or two,” she said.

Gary Lare, manager of H&R Block in McPherson, said he wasn’t sure whether there will be problems with income tax refunds.

“It’s hard to say, from the stories I hear, if there’s going to be problems with refunds, but the inner sanctum of IRS is still working,” he said. “A lot of it is shut down.”

Lare said H&R Block usually gets regular emails from IRS, but the most recent one came last month.

“I’ve had some old returns we sent in for older refunds, and they’ve got their refunds,” he said. “They could have been lucky enough to have beaten the shutdown.”

Lare said he had heard IRS would try to open Jan. 29, but that might not happen. Nevertheless, tax returns should be filed on time as always, regardless of whether the shutdown is over.

“I think it’s a good deal we’re able to file them,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s a good idea to file early.”

Susan Day, head of income tax service for Adams, Brown, Beren and Ball, said the IRS is not taking individual returns via e-filing. Historically, IRS started issuing refunds in the latter part of January.

“If taxpayers are using online services, the provider will have to securely hold the return until the government is ready to open efiling receipts,” Day said. “If a taxpayer files via mail, the return will be on a first-in first-out basis, albeit slower than normally would be unless the government reopens due to fewer staff.”

Last modified Jan. 10, 2019

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