6 top tax issues of 2018 and what to expect in 2019
Tax filing season 2019 will start Jan. 28, even if the IRS is still in partial shutdown

Tax refunds will be issued even if partial government shutdown continues into 2019 filing season

Tax refund check

Good news today for folks who are expecting a tax refund when they file their 2018 returns this year. You'll get your money, even if the partial government shutdown drags out into the 2019 tax filing season.

That's the word from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), according to Hallie Jackson, chief White House correspondent for MSNBC.

Jackson made that announcement during Ali Velshi's show this afternoon after leaving an hour-plus White House press briefing, led by Vice President Mike Pence, on the shutdown.

"The head of Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, is telling us that there will be tax refunds issued as planned," Jackson said.

"That had been a big question mark. One of the pain points had been there will be a delay potentially in people getting their [tax] money back from the government," Jackson said. "And it looks like, based on what he has told us, that because of this indefinite appropriations there's a way to sort of move things around so that workers who are toiling away on those refunds continue to do so and that people get those refunds as planned."

The "indefinite appropriation" Vought referred to is the OMB's determination that issuing tax refunds is not something that needs annual Congressional approval.

Still waiting on filing season to start: OK. Good. I'm happy for folks who get those magical things known as refunds and which never seem to materialize for me.

It does sound, though, like OMB is getting a bit ahead of things.

The Internal Revenue Service has not yet opened or even announced the opening date for the 2019 tax filing season, so no one is working yet on taxpayer refunds. (But we do know when our taxes are due, either April 15 or April 17.)

That issue — the deeming of workers who process returns and issue any refunds as essential to IRS operations — is likely to be addressed in a new Treasury contingency plan. The plan issued late last year officially only covered operations through Dec. 31, 2018.

It's also unclear whether the White House has the legal authority to hand out refunds during the partial shutdown.

What is clear, however, is that the Trump Administration has weighed the potential public ire if folks don't get tax refunds upon which they are counting and decided, at least from a public relations standpoint, that this is not a direction it wants to go.

We'll see if Treasury and the IRS agree when those officials finally get around to making it official as far as filing season 2019 and exactly what the IRS will do or not do during this third longest (so far) government shutdown.

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