IRS says it expects to start sending out refunds the first week of February

IRS says it expects to start sending out refunds the first week of February
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The IRS said it expects to be able to issue most tax refunds in a timely fashion, as the 2019 tax-filing season began Monday, days after the end of the partial government shutdown.

The agency said it expects to start sending out refunds the first week of February and to pay out many refunds in mid-to-late February, as was the case in past years. It also said that like in the past, it expects to issue more than 90 percent of refunds within 21 days of a taxpayer submitting his or her return.

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The start of the filing season comes days after the end of the 35-day government shutdown. At the beginning of the shutdown, the IRS was operating under a shutdown plan under which only about 12.5 percent of IRS employees were working. The agency later released a filing-season plan under which 46,000 employees were supposed to be working, though many of those people did not report back to work last week.

The IRS said that it's working to get its operations back to normal following the shutdown.

“The IRS will be doing everything it can to have a smooth filing season,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a news release Monday.

Democrats remain concerned about the IRS following the end of the shutdown. House Ways and Means Committee Democrats said in a video posted on Twitter Monday that experts estimate that it could take 18 months to recover from the shutdown.

This year's filing season is also the first filing season when taxpayers will file returns that reflect many of the tax changes made by Republicans' 2017 tax-cut law. 

Rettig praised IRS employees for their work in implementing the tax law.

"The dedicated IRS employees have worked tirelessly to successfully implement the biggest tax law changes in 30 years and launch tax season for the nation," he said. “Although we face various near- and longer-term challenges, our employees are committed to doing everything we can to help taxpayers and get refunds out quickly."

The deadline to file tax returns is April 15 in most states. The IRS said it expects to receive more than 150 million individual tax returns, and said that it already received several million tax returns by mid-day Monday.