Even though the federal government is shut down, taxpayers are still on the hook to pay their taxes. Whether that’s paying estimated quarterly taxes or having taxes taken out of their paychecks, the federal leviathan isn’t shut down enough to stop taking other people’s money. But the big question most taxpayers had was whether or not they would get their tax refunds on time this year. That’s still a bit iffy.
President Trump has promised that taxpayers will get their refunds this year, although the timing could be difficult. For one thing, many of the IRS staff who would normally answer taxpayer questions have been furloughed. And with the Form 1040 and its accompanying schedules having been completely revamped for 2018 tax returns, it’s almost guaranteed that millions of taxpayers will have questions about their returns.
Even if the IRS is able to send out tax refunds, the wait times are expected to be up to two months. And that’s if things keep to schedule, which they may not. President Trump has recalled 46,000 furloughed workers to government service, many of whom are supposed to help with tax refunds. But who knows whether there will be sufficient numbers of personnel to get those refunds our or not.
For all we know the government could still be shut down on April 15, or in June when the last tax refunds are scheduled to go out. And with so many government workers still furloughed, those who are still working by then will be mighty tired of having missed so many paychecks. That’s a recipe for slow work and numerous delays.
So if you’re depending on your tax refund this year to fund any purchases, just be aware that your money may not be coming back to you in a timely manner. That’s all the more reason to start saving more from each paycheck to make sure that you aren’t caught flat-footed by anything the government does.