Taxes still due, but refunds delayed if government shutdown continues

CLEVELAND-- If the government shutdown continues, here's a twist: You would still owe your taxes on time. But if you're due a refund, well, you may have to wait a long time to get it.

Almost 90 percent of the people who work for the Internal Revenue Service are not at their jobs because of the shutdown.

The longer that continues, the greater the chance that tax returns - and refunds - will be impacted.

"There's going to be a backlog," said Jim Knuff, a CPA with Ashworth, Knuff and Company in Middleburg Heights.

Knuff, who has prepared tax returns in Cleveland for 40 years, said people have gotten use to receiving their refunds in just a couple weeks. But, if the shutdown continues, he says, "It could be six, seven, or eight weeks."

That's because tax returns won't be processed until the IRS employees return to work, which won't happen until the shutdown ends.

While refunds may be delayed, if you owe the government money, you will still have to pay it on-time.

"You still owe the money by April 15th," Knuff said.

In addition, there is a new 1040 form this year because of the new tax law that was passed just more than a year ago. The new form is likely to create confusion for some taxpayers - but they can't call the IRS for help.

The tax assistance lines won't be staffed until the shutdown ends. In fact, even a special IRS line for tax preparers, like Knuff, is now answered by a recording.

"Normal operations will resume as soon as possible," the recording said

Whenever that is.

More stories on the government shutdown here

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