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As the government shutdown continues and tax filing season gets closer, many people may be wondering how the shutdown will affect their tax return filings and refunds. The information below is republished in part from a press release by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) titled, “IRS Operations During the Appropriations Lapse,” which clears up some of these questions.

Due to the lapse in appropriations, most IRS operations are closed during the shutdown. An IRS-wide furlough began on December 22, 2018, that affects many operations.

During this period, the IRS reminds taxpayers that the underlying tax laws remain in effect, and all taxpayers should continue to meet their tax obligations as normal. Individuals and businesses should keep filing their tax returns and making payments and deposits with the IRS, as they are required to do by law.

2019 Filing Season: Key Information for Taxpayers

The IRS has announced that the 2019 filing season will begin on Jan. 28, 2019, for individual taxpayers. The IRS began accepting business tax returns (non-1040 series) on Jan. 8.

Taxpayers should keep several things in mind during this challenging period:

  • File electronically. The IRS will accept paper and electronic tax returns, but taxpayers are urged to file electronically to speed processing and refunds.
  • Tax refunds. Refunds will be paid, but the IRS cautions that returns will continue to be subject to refund fraud, identity theft and other internal reviews as in prior years. Taxpayers should use e-file or Free File with direct deposit to help speed refunds.
  • Tax filing. Taxpayers can go ahead and start working on their returns in advance of the Jan. 28 opening. Both tax software and tax professionals will be available and working in advance of IRS systems opening. Software companies and tax professionals will then submit the returns when the IRS systems open. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically to minimize errors and for faster refunds.

Additional information related to the 2019 filing season will be available in coming days on


  1. Gravatar for Sandra

    Thanks for the current tax info. Very clear and helpful.

  2. Gravatar for Nicolette

    The IRS has already accepted my return..... does this mean I will receive my refund within the time frame posted on the IRS website? I’m just a little confused as to why my return was accept before the published acceptance date.

    1. Gravatar for Amanda

      Here in NJ my friend with kids and EIC ACTC both already got their deposits, one friend filed early Jan and got last week of January and the other filed 1.28 and got 2.7 ... I know other people with kids who already got there’s too so I am unsure how real this delay is for people claiming kids etc

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