Tax Season is on Schedule Despite Government Shutdown

The IRS will begin processing tax returns, often a source for debt payments by consumers, this month.

1/8/2019 1:00 PM

Tax Season is on Schedule Despite Government Shutdown

Consumers can expect to receive their tax refunds as scheduled this year after the Internal Revenue Service begins processing returns Jan. 28.

“We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a news release.

“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,” according to a news release from the IRS. “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.”

With that in mind, debt collectors can prepare to work with consumers receiving a refund to use the extra money to help settle their accounts.

Consumers may be thinking of saving the money or putting it toward a large purchase like a vehicle or home appliances, but it can’t hurt to bring up tax refunds during conversations with consumers who have outstanding debts.

Now that the IRS announced it is continuing with processing refunds on schedule, it also can’t hurt to ask consumers in advance if they’re expecting a refund to help them manage their account. Perhaps they will even have some savings after paying off their account balance, or you can help consumers come up with a payment plan using their tax refund.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins, according to the news release. Taxpayers who typically file early and have their necessary documentation do not need to wait to file.

With tax season and refund processing is on schedule, the IRS reports it will be “recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work.”

The deadline for 2018 tax returns for a majority of taxpayers is Monday, April 15.

Read more tips for working with consumers during tax season in the February 2018 edition of Collector magazine.

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