Another govern­ment shut­down could de­lay your tax re­fund

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - BUSINESS - Michelle Sin­gle­tary

WASHINGTON >> If you tend to pro­cras­ti­nate about fil­ing your tax re­turn, this is not the year to daw­dle.

Usu­ally ev­ery­one is fix­ated on April 15, when fed­eral tax re­turns are typ­i­cally due. But this tax sea­son, Feb. 15 is the loom­ing date on your cal­en­dar. That’s the day when the tem­po­rary fund­ing ends for the fed­eral agen­cies that were shut down for more than a month over Pres­i­dent Trump’s de­mand for fund­ing for a bor­der wall. A fail­ure to ne­go­ti­ate a bor­der-se­cu­rity com­pro­mise by Feb. 15 could mean another shut­down, which would im­pact the IRS and the ser­vices it pro­vides to tax­pay­ers.

In an in­ter­view with The Wall Street Jour­nal, Trump said there’s less than a 50-50 chance a con­gres­sional com­mit­tee would come up with an ac­cept­able deal. This un­cer­tainty couldn’t come at a worse time. Al­ready people are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing some angst over ma­jor tax changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Most of the changes in this leg­is­la­tion took ef­fect in 2018 and will be re­flected in fed­eral tax re­turns filed this year.

The IRS said it ex­pects to process more than 150 mil­lion in­di­vid­ual re­turns for the 2018 tax year.

“I started do­ing my taxes and no­ticed the re­moval of per­sonal ex­emp­tions,” one reader wrote. “How did I miss this news?”

There has been a lot of cov­er­age of the over­haul of the tax code, but hu­man na­ture is such that people of­ten don’t fo­cus on var­i­ous is­sues — like their taxes — un­til a dead­line forces them to face the facts.

Another reader, a re­tired widow with a de­pen­dent child, wrote: “I did my taxes us­ing Tur­boTax, and with all the new changes, my tax re­fund was $196, com­pared with $662 last year. I didn’t change any­thing.”

There are a num­ber of things that could re­sult in a higher


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