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IRS confirms that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds

From the IRS Newsroom IR-2019-01, January 7, 2019

WASHINGTON ― Despite the government shutdown, the Internal Revenue Service today confirmed that it will process tax returns beginning January 28, 2019 and provide refunds to taxpayers as scheduled.

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

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. 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.

The IRS will be recalling a significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work. Additional details for the IRS filing season will be included in an updated FY2019 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan to be released publicly in the coming days.

“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,” said Rettig.

As in past years, the IRS will begin accepting and processing individual tax returns once the filing season begins. For taxpayers who usually file early in the year and have all of the needed documentation, there is no need to wait to file. They should file when they are ready to submit a complete and accurate tax return.

The filing deadline to submit 2018 tax returns is Monday, April 15, 2019 for most taxpayers.

Don’t like unpleasant surprises? Do this now!

The new tax laws may affect your taxes drastically. If you are like us and don’t like the kind of surprises that involve having to pay out money, make sure your withholding is sufficient to cover your taxes.

The IRS Withholding Calculator is the best tool for this. It is surprisingly easy to use, as well. You will need information from your previous year’s tax return, along with your most current pay stub.

You can do a checkup at any time, and the calculator will advise you on what to withhold in order to get caught up by the end of the year. This is very useful in case your situation changes.

You can find the calculator at https://www.irs.gov/W4App. You can also find this link on our Resources page, along with a Form W-4 that you can download and fill out.

IRS offers advice on how to protect yourself from scammers

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to avoiding tax scams. Here’s what taxpayers need to know to determine whether an encounter — in person, over the phone or by email — is an impostor or an actual IRS employee:

The IRS Does Not:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.
  • Demand taxpayers pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have someone arrested for not paying.
  • Threaten to revoke someone’s driver’s license, business licenses or immigration status.

The IRS Does:

  • In general, first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
  • Normally initiate contact with taxpayers through mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.
  • Present official identification when visiting a taxpayer. Taxpayers have the right to see these credentials, and – if they would like – the representative will provide them with a dedicated IRS phone number for verifying the information and confirming their identity.
  • Call or visit a home or business under certain circumstances. This includes when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or criminal investigation. Even then, taxpayers will generally receive several letters from the IRS in the mail first.
  • Assign certain cases to private debt collectors, but only after written notice is given to the taxpayer and their appointed representative.
  • Offer several payment options. Payment by check should be payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not a private collection agency.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov/newsroom/heres-how-taxpayers-can-protect-themselves-from-scammers.

Closer than Ever

The Long Beach Landmark Theatre Company’s latest production is coming next month.
 
Closer than Ever is a nonstop musical exploration of everyday struggles in the modern world. Topics ranging from unrequited adoration to aging, heartbreak, and even Muzak are tackled with resounding sincerity and precisely-placed hilarity. Each song is a unique story told by a new character, taking audiences into the minds and hearts of contemporary people facing everyday, completely relatable challenges.
 
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit lblandmark.org.