The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that tax season will open on Monday, January 28, 2019. The IRS will begin accepting paper and electronic tax returns that day.

The IRS made the start date announcement despite the ongoing government shutdown. “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.

According to the IRS, Congress directed the payment of tax refunds through a permanent, indefinite appropriation (31 U.S.C. 1324). The IRS says it has “consistently been of the view that it has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations.” While the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has previously directed the IRS not to pay refunds during a lapse, the IRS indicated that OMB has reviewed the relevant law at Treasury’s request and concluded that IRS may pay tax refunds during a lapse. (You can read more here.)

As a result, the IRS intends to recall “a significant portion of its workforce” to work. More information will be available once the IRS issues its updated Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan, which is slated to “be released publicly in the coming days.” The most recently released contingency plan lapsed on December 31, 2018. (You can read more here.)

The due date for the 2019 filing season remains April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. However, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts will have until April 17, 2019, to file their federal income tax returns. (You can read more here.)

Every year, taxpayers have questions about early filing. Many software companies and tax professionals will accept tax returns before opening day, January 28, 2019. That doesn’t mean that your tax return will be filed early. Software companies and tax professionals will submit returns when IRS systems open. For faster refunds, the IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically.

More information about tax season, including filing updates, will be available as January 28, 2019, approaches. Check back regularly for more details.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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