Tax News You Can Use
Tax Filing Season Begins January 28, 2019
IR-2019-01, January 7, 2019
WASHINGTON ― 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.
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.
Tax Refund Offset Information
Need to find out of your tax refund will be offset because of student loans, child support or any other reasons? Call the tax refund offset line at
Due to the partial government shut down, you will not be able to speak to a live person when calling the IRS. Hopefully things will get back to normal and calls will resume soon.
Filing Past Due Tax Returns
File all tax returns that are due, regardless of whether or not you can pay in full. File your past due return the same way and to the same location where you would file an on-time return.
If you have received a notice, make sure to send your past due return to the location indicated on the notice you received.
Why You Should File Your Past Due Return Now
Avoid interest and penalties
File your past due return and pay now to limit interest charges and late payment penalties.
Claim a Refund
You risk losing your refund if you don't file your return. If you are due a refund for withholding or estimated taxes, you must file your return to claim it within 3 years of the return due date. The same rule applies to a right to claim tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit.
We hold income tax refunds in cases where our records show that one or more income tax returns are past due. We hold them until we get the past due return or receive an acceptable reason for not filing a past due return.
Protect Social Security Benefits
If you are self-employed and do not file your federal income tax return, any self-employment income you earned will not be reported to the Social Security Administration and you will not receive credits toward Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
Avoid Issues Obtaining Loans
Loan approvals may be delayed if you don't file your return. Copies of filed tax returns must be submitted to financial institutions, mortgage lenders/brokers, etc., whenever you want to buy or refinance a home, get a loan for a business, or apply for federal aid for higher education.
If You Owe More Than You Can Pay
If you cannot pay what you owe, you can request an additional 60-120 days to pay your account in full through the Online Payment Agreement application or by calling 800-829-1040; no user fee will be charged. If you need more time to pay, you can request an installment agreement or you may qualify for an offer in compromise.