After more than two weeks of hiatus, we have news that the IRS will commence processing 2018 tax returns on January 28, 2019.

The IRS, the revenue agency of the US government, currently has 90% of its workforce on leave without pay.

In a departure from the now-expired Contingency Plan[1], the IRS has been instructed by the White House to issue tax refunds, upon which millions of US taxpayers are reliant in the early months of each year.

Conversely, Category B[2] activities are continuing, including electronic return processing[3], and activities that are deemed ‘necessary to protect federal land, buildings and other property owned by the United States’ – including tax payments.

For now, all IRS call centres remain closed, including the international area of the LB & I. We will provide a further update as it comes to hand.

[1] The ‘Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan (Non-Filing Season – December 8-31, 2018) was released by the IRS in late 2018. The 120-page document details what activities would continue (‘excepted activities’), what activities would be halted (‘non-excepted activities’), which departments would be affected and which personnel would be put on unpaid leave in the event of a US government shutdown. The plan was only intended to cover the first five business days of a lapse in appropriations, after which time, according to the plan, a new plan would need to be developed.

[2] Category B of the Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan (Non-Filing Season – December 8-31, 2018) is one of four categories that will remain in operation to varying extents as set out in the plan.

[3] E-filing is an ‘excepted activity’ under the Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan (Non-Filing Season – December 8-31, 2018), to the extent to which IRS service center intervention is not required.