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Local accountant explains government shutdown’s impact on tax season

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -  Taxpayers are growing concerned as tax season is approaching and the government remains shut down.

WHNT News 19 sat down with a local tax accountant, who said the impact is deeper than it appears at the surface level.

"The longer the government's shutdown, the longer it's gonna take for them to get the IRS up and the forms all approved and ready to file," explained Robert Seaman, "That could now be from the middle to the end of February before you`re able to start filing your tax returns."

Accountants are feeling the pressure. They can prepare your tax forms ahead of time but, "If they don't allow e-filing until let's say the end of February, well now I`m within two to three weeks maybe. And so if it goes into that March time period, now I'm having to extend tax returns because I can't get it done within two weeks."

Some people have plans for refunds before they receive them, so delays are frustrating.

Seaman said there is a way to get your refund faster.

"The only other way that you possibly could get money back is to find a tax preparer that is going to give you an advance on that potentially."

But there are risks that come along with those advances.

"The issue with that is you're going to wind up paying something for getting that money early," said Seaman.

It will most likely appear as interest or an increase in your tax preparation fees.

The shutdown will continue to push back filing, but the deadlines will remain the same.

Seaman said that causes a back-up. "What that does is that stacks up all that work closer to the deadline. If we were able to start during the first of February, well we had a full month and a half."

Seaman said you can extend the filing of returns up to 6 months, but if you owe the IRS, you'll still have to pay on or before the deadline.

  • March 15, 2019 for business returns
  • April 15, 2019 for individual returns