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IRS confirms filing season will start Jan. 28


The IRS said Monday that the tax-filing season will start Jan. 28 — meaning that the agency will start accepting returns on time this year despite the partial government shutdown.

The agency also confirmed a White House official's comments earlier in the day that the IRS will be able to issue refunds during the shutdown.

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown," IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement. "I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period.”

The IRS is one of the federal agencies with funding that lapsed because of the shutdown, and there had been concerns that the agency wouldn't be able to issue tax refunds while it wasn't funded. The Office of Management and Budget in 2011 told the IRS not to pay refunds if funding lapsed.

But the IRS said that OMB reviewed relevant law and found that the agency could issue refunds during the shutdown.

There had also been questions about when the filing season would start. Last year, the tax-filing season started Jan. 29, 2018, and this year's filing season will similarly begin the last Monday in January.

In most states, tax returns will be due on the traditional filing due date of April 15. But taxpayers in Maine and Massachusetts will have until April 17 because those states celebrate Patriots' Day on April 15 and the following day is Emancipation Day in D.C.

This year's tax-filing season is expected to be closely watched because it is the first one when taxpayers will be filing returns that reflect many of the tax-code changes made by Republicans' 2017 tax law.

“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,” Rettig said.

Republicans hope that the law becomes more popular when people see their tax refunds, while Democrats are concerned that people may end up with smaller refunds than expected, or will have to pay the IRS money due to new tax withholding guidance released last year.

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