And during shutdowns, the service typically doesn't perform audits, offer assistance to taxpayers, or pay refunds.
The agency has categorized issuing tax refunds as a "non-excepted" activity - meaning those tasked with processing refunds would be furloughed during a shutdown. "Those temporary workers are out of work due to this shutdown".
Tovey says, "You can get your rent paid, your bills paid, credit card debt, anything like that you want to do".
Knuff, who has prepared tax returns in Cleveland for 40 years, said people have gotten use to receiving their refunds in just a couple weeks.
Even though tax day is April 15 each year, that does not mean the partial government shutdown couldn't potentially be disrupting for tax refunds before then.
That is what callers to the IRS hotline heard and will continue to hear when calling the government agency's hotline with a tax question. That includes questions about how the new tax law may have changed things for this year's W-2 forms, which they must send out by the end of January. However, if the halt continues, people won't get a refund until the government reopens.
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As the government shutdown enters another week, federal agencies like the IRS are feeling the effects. WSJ reported the IRS paid out $12.6 billion in refunds by February 2 of previous year.
With that in mind, should you wait to file your taxes?
First, tax refunds won't be issued.
One other area in which the IRS may have problems is the continuing implementation of the 2017 tax legislation passed by Republicans in Congress and signed by Trump. The IRS is already going to have to update its contingency plan now that the shutdown has lasted longer than five business days.
But if a deal isn't reached anytime soon, those who need the refund the most are the most likely to be affected.