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A lot of Americans count on their tax refund at the beginning of the year to get them ahead of their holiday debt. However, I hope you weren’t counting on your tax refund to help you this new year. The way this partial government shutdown is looking, early tax filers will not be getting their refunds right away.

During a government shutdown, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) cuts off work for over 80% of its workforce. That’s 70,000 employees that haven’t gotten paid since before Christmas. The remaining 9,946 employees are pushing to process returns and accept payments, which means if you owe the IRS any income tax this tax season, you still have to get it in before April 14.

“Probably no surprise, they are still capable of taking your money, and they are still capable of processing returns that are being submitted,” Scott Moffit, president of Summit Financial Group shared. The IRS will not be able to answer any questions from taxpayers at this time either, creating unease for early filers.

Last year Congress and President Trump passed a law that requires the IRS to hold all tax refunds including Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) until February 15, 2019, regardless of how early you filed.

Normally taxpayers can expect their tax return within 21 days of filing and 8 days if you e-file and opt for direct deposit. This year however will find a lot more people asking the age-old question, “Where’s my refund?”

Curious to figure out an estimate of what your refund amount may be? Check out H&R Block’s free federal tax refund estimator. Answer a few questions and get a quick estimate of what you can expect to see in your bank account when the refund check arrives.

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Lyndsay Burginger is a food and lifestyle writer as well as the Managing Editor of Wide Open Eats. Lyndsay has worked for companies such as America's Test Kitchen and Disney, and holds degrees in Creative Writing and Culinary Arts. When she's not writing or cooking you can find Lyndsay traveling ...Read more
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