The federal government’s partial shutdown is over … for now, anyway.
On Jan. 25, President Trump signed a bill to end the shutdown for three weeks while negotiations over border security continue.
And since tax season wasn’t scheduled to start until today, we’re all good, right? For taxpayers, CPAs, and the IRS, it’s like nothing happened, correct?
Not so fast.
According to The Washington Post, the National Taxpayer Advocate has told officials with the House of Representatives that it will take at least a year for things to return to normal at the IRS.
Forbes tax writer Kelly Phillips Erb says the “IRS reportedly has a backlog of 5 million unanswered pieces of mail. … If the agency can process 20,000 more letters per day, they can wipe out that backlog in 250 business days — roughly, a full calendar year. … And of course,” she adds, “you know that the IRS does more than answer mail.” The inevitable result? Delays.
Tax refunds could be among those delays. “Just because you reopen the government doesn’t mean that on Day 1 everything is normal,” Jorge Castro, a former counselor to the IRS commissioner, told the Associated Press. “The IRS has not been at full capacity in its operations for over a month.”
The IRS itself, though, insists it’s business as usual.