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Shutdown could delay your tax refund, but you may still have to pay

If you like to file your taxes early to get a quick refund, you may be waiting longer if the government shutdown creeps into filing season.
Credit: alfexe
(Credit: Getty Images)

The government shutdown could delay your tax refund this year, but if you owe the IRS money, then you may still have to pay on time regardless.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that the Internal Revenue Service is one of the federal agencies without funding and is being run with one-eighth of its normal staffing as the government shutdown continues.

While the IRS does conduct some business during shutdowns, it generally does not issue refunds, answer taxpayer questions outside the filing season or conduct audits. The Treasury Department considers these non-excepted activities during a shutdown and positions that handle these are furloughed.

Despite the shutdown, the IRS can still process some tax returns that include payments, the Wall Street Journal report said.

A short shutdown may have little impact, but a longer shutdown could prevent people who like to file their returns early from getting their refunds right away. That could affect individuals and families that rely on that money. WSJ reported the IRS paid out $12.6 billion in refunds by Feb. 2 of last year.

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