46,000 IRS workers will head back to work without pay to process tax returns and pay out refunds

steven mnuchinTreasury Secretary nominee Steven MnuchinMark Wilson/Getty Images

  • Tax Day 2019 is Monday, April 15.
  • On Tuesday, an AP report said a total of 46,000 IRS employees will return to work without pay to process tax returns and pay out refunds.
  • Since the government shutdown began more than three weeks ago, the IRS has been operating with about 10,000 of its 80,000 employees.

Some 46,000 IRS employees have been called back to work without pay amidst the longest government shutdown in history, according to an AP report.

The IRS previously announced it would begin accepting tax returns on January 28 for the 2019 tax filing season. It also plans to pay out refunds as normal, despite previous reports that the government shutdown would delay refunds for early filers.

The IRS employees returning to work will do so "as soon as the Treasury Department issues an official notice," the AP report said.

Read more: The IRS will still accept tax returns during the partial government shutdown. Here's how you can file for free online.

Furloughed workers for the Department of Treasury, which houses the IRS, have lost a total of $410 million - or about $5,000 per worker - in wages since the government shutdown began in December, The New York Times reported.

According to the AP report, the union that represents IRS employees sued in federal court, saying President Trump's administration "can't continue to force more and more employees to show up in exchange only for an IOU," but a federal judge rejected the case.

Taxpayers should file ASAP, despite the government shutdown

Despite earlier reports that refunds would not be paid out in a timely manner due to the government shutdown, the IRS said in a press release that processes would continue as normal.

"We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown. I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period," IRS Commissioner Chuck Retti said before the report that more employees would be returning to work without pay.

In order to submit your tax return, you first need a W-2 form, or Wage and Tax Statement, from every employer you had during 2018. If you're a freelancer, you'll need 1099 forms.

Typically, employers must file and postmark tax-related documents by January 31. Therefore, you should receive your forms by early February. But if you receive all your forms before then, you can file your tax return as early as January 28.

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