With another government shutdown possible, your tax return could be delayed


With less than a week to go until another potential partial government shutdown, many people are left wondering how it will impact their tax refunds and returns. Tax experts say you could be waiting longer than usual to get your money. 

“It’s going to affect everything if they have to wait longer,” said David Roberts, who filed his taxes early this year. 

Tax experts say with IRS employees now playing catch-up after the partial government shutdown, returns will likely take longer for people to get.

“Dates wise, we don’t know how long it’s taking yet,” said Nolin Christiansen, owner of Christensen Financial Services. “We have yet to see anybody get a refund yet that’s already filed.”

Christensen said he hasn’t seen a large number of people rushing in to file their taxes, but he suggests getting them done quickly.

“If you’re mailing in a return, do not do that,” Christensen said. “I would make sure you definitely electronically file, even if you owe because you’ve got until April 15 to pay.”

Christensen said those who will be waiting the longest on returns are people receiving credits like the child tax credit, education credit or earned income credit. All of those have been delayed by the IRS until at least February 27. If another shutdown begins, that date could be pushed back even further. 

Roberts and his wife are filing their taxes as soon as possible just to be safe.

“It’s going to affect everyone if they have to wait longer,” said Roberts. “People expect those returns to come back pretty quick. We’ve gotten used to it because it’s all electronic filing now.”

Roberts said he fears the impact another partial government shutdown will have on the economy and people who depend on the money from their tax returns.

“It scares me a little bit,” Roberts said. “Especially for the federal workers that are going to be affected. Not only are they going to get hit with their loss of income, but get hit with their taxes not coming back in time.”

The biggest advice from tax professionals for the people heading to file taxes this week is to wait to decide how you’ll spend the money you’re getting back. 

“Do not spend your refund until it is in your bank,” Christensen said. “This year, we just don’t know when the refunds are going to hit and we do know that some of those are now going to be later than normal.” 

If you have any questions about filing your taxes or other details amid another possible government shutdown, contact a local tax preparer or the IRS. 

To visit the IRS website, click here.

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