Internal Revenue Service Confirms Tax Filing Season to Begin January 28

Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) confirmed that it will process 2018 tax returns beginning January 28, 2019, and provide refunds as scheduled.

Congress directed the payment of all tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation 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.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. If you usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. You should file when you 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.