While the initial drama of the government shutdown is now past us (even though another is looming), there is still drama impacting many Americans – and it has to do with their tax refunds.
The initial start of tax season was Monday, with the IRS telling consumers that they began accepting e-filed returns on January 28, 2019. But just because the IRS can accept your e-filed return doesn’t mean that you’re going to have success e-filing it. Beyond the shutdown, the massive amount of changes to the tax code because of Trump’s tax reform have left software developers struggling at both the IRS and at all of the state agencies that handle state tax returns.
As a result, many states have not been able to complete their software to accept returns as well.
Let’s break down a few reasons why your tax return will be delayed, and what you can do about it. If you want a handy guide, check out this tax refund calendar: 2019 Tax Refund Calendar.
Doors at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building are locked and covered with blinds as a sign posted advises that the office will be closed during the partial government shutdown Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Seattle. The shutdown is in its fourth week with no end in sight. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
Delays At The IRS and Tax Software Companies
Even though the government is re-opened, the IRS isn’t running at full capacity yet. There is a huge backlog of work that needs to be caught up from being shut down for an entire month.
One of the big areas of backlog is ensuring correct integrations for e-file returns. Specifically, the IRS provides data to the various tax software companies to allow them to correctly e-file returns. But due to the shutdown, the IRS was not getting updates done, and not communicating this to the various tax services.