Government Shutdown Threatens to Delay Tax Refunds -- but Taxes Still Due April 18

Shutdown would cause the furlough of many IRS workers, delaying some refunds.

ByABC News
April 6, 2011, 3:34 PM

April 6, 2011 — -- They say nothing is for sure except death and taxes. The same is true this year, even though the government might be shut down on tax day.

If Republicans and Democrats in Washington can't agree on a way to fund the government for the rest of this year, non-essential government personnel, including most IRS employees, wouldn't be allowed to work.

Even so, Americans still will be expected to file their taxes by this year's deadline of April 18, IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman said in Washington on Tuesday.

Whether there's a shutdown or not, he encouraged people to file on time, preferably electronically. Approximately 70 percent of Americans file electronically.

Mail service would not be interrupted by a government shutdown, so an April 18 postmark still would be key to an on-time tax filing by mail.

"However, taxpayers who file paper returns will experience some delays," Shulman said.

People who file electronically and opt to receive their returns electronically "should expect to see refunds quickly," Shulman said.

Shulman didn't want to speculate on whether the shutdown might damage the IRS's ability to carry through with audits and make sure tax filers are complying with the law.

In the event of a government shutdown, IRS processing of tax refunds will stop for paper-filed returns and tax auditing will cease if and when the Friday budget deadline passes, a senior administration official said Wednesday. Paper returns account for about 30 percent of filed returns. Electronic filing will continue and electronic refunds will go through, the official said.