Tax Refunds Will be Issued Timely, Mnuchin Says
Despite the 35-day partial government shutdown, tax refunds are expected to be issued timely this year. To that end, Treasury and the IRS are prepared for the 2019 tax filing season, which began on January 28, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
"We're taking tax returns. We'll be ready for tax refunds. We'll have the phones re-staffed," Mnuchin said in a January 29 televised interview. "We are ready for tax season, and I can assure you that tax refunds will be paid as normal," he added.
Moreover, the IRS has announced that it expects the first tax refunds to go out during the first week of February. Additionally, many refunds will be paid by mid- to-late February, as in previous years, the IRS noted. "The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth filing season," IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement.
Tax Reform Implementation
Lawmakers and tax practitioners alike have expressed concern over the IRS’s ability to manage the filing season after the agency experienced a nearly 90 percent reduction in staff because of the shutdown. In addition to stalled operations and limited resources weighing on the IRS, this is the first tax filing season since tax reform implementation).
Implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has gone as "smoothly as can be expected," Mark Warren, minority chief tax counsel for the Senate Finance Committee (SFC), said on January 29 at a DC Bar event in Washington, D.C. Additionally, Treasury and the IRS have "very clearly been cognizant" of all the comments received on TCJA regulations, according to Warren. Further, Warren noted that the IRS "miraculously"” opened the 2019 tax filing season on time, which was largely viewed on Capitol Hill as a heavy lift.
That said, however, additional TCJA-related guidance is anticipated in the coming weeks and months and is expected to leave many taxpayers waiting to file returns. "With limited staff working on TCJA implementation, a slowdown in releasing crucial guidance seems likely," Annette Nellen, chair of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Tax Executive Committee, wrote last week to the IRS and Treasury. Additionally, many tax forms and instructions are still pending and in draft stages, which will likely result in issues with the readiness of tax preparation software, according to Nellen.
Source: CCH Incorporated