As you have probably seen in the news, early Saturday, January 20th, the federal government shutdown, due to Congress being unable to pass a spending bill. The majority of non essential government functions will be halted until Congress is able to pass an appropriations bill to resume funding. The last government shutdown was in 2013 and lasted 17 days.
In terms of taxes, the majority of IRS functions will continue as planned, thanks to the “IRS FY 2018 Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan”. This 81 page document allows for a total of 35,076 employees to continue working during a shutdown. While this is only 43.5% of the IRS workforce, it is enough to keep the majority of functions operating. In other words, the January 29th tax season opening should continue as planned.
While the majority of IRS functions will continue, some operations will be stalled until the shutdown ends. For example, refunds will not be issued and IRS call desks will be closed.
If the shutdown is anything like the last one and lasts past January 29th, taxpayers will still be able to electronically file returns. However, paper returns will not be processed until after the shutdown.
Even though, the federal government is not functioning like normal, taxes must still be paid and tax season will continue as planned.
If you would like to read the full IRS contingency plan, it is available here: