The Trump Administration promised Monday that federal tax returns will be processed on time, but many locals are still worried that might not happen.
Now in week three of the partial government shutdown some 800,000 federal workers are still furloughed or working without pay.
Due to the lack of IRS employees, many are concerned they won’t see their tax return anytime soon.
“I kind of need that money especially since Christmas just hit,” said Jonathan Michael Jenkins, a taxpayer and single father of two.
“I usually get like &$5,000 or $6,000 back every year with that, it’s a nice chunk and then kids and me can go on a trip for the summer or whatever,” said Jenkins.
But if his return is delayed, he will take a financial hit.
Only about 12% of IRS workers are expected to continue working during the shutdown.
Local accountants said they can’t even get a hold of them.
“Nobody answers the phone,” said Misty Little, an enrolled agent for Burkart and Stevens CPAs and Advisors in San Luis Obispo. “There’s no one there to answer the phone.”
Little said government shutdowns burden the accountant and the client.
She remembered the chaos from the 2013 government shutdown when tax returns were delayed during the tax extension filing season.
“Some people rely on that money in their budget and it can be very difficult to not be able to tell somebody or know when they are going to get their refund,” said Little. “It can be very frustrating for everybody involved.”
If the government isn’t opened by February, millions of Americans could also lose out in food assistance programs like food stamps.
“I am more concerned about the people who are dependent on child credit and food stamps upon getting tax refund in order to make the world work for them,” said tax payer and San Luis Obispo resident Harry Busselen.
Accountants like Little are advising people to file for their return earlier rather than later so they have more time to resolve any issues.
You can officially file your tax returns January 28th, 2019.
The IRS received 154.4 million returns by November 23rd of last year and issued an average refund of $2,899.