One way this potential government shutdown would be different than in the past -- there’s never been a federal shutdown during tax filing season. Nor has the government been shut down amid the implementation of a massive tax code overhaul.
The Internal Revenue Service would lose an estimated 56 percent of its workforce to furloughs if the government shuts down, according to the U.S. Treasury. And it would be happening right when the IRS is updating its guidelines and software, while also fielding questions from the public about new tax laws.
Experts told the Washington Post that even a short shutdown will set back implementation on the new tax code.
Tax filing season begins on Jan. 29. The IRS generally issues nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days. With the workforce cut in half, it is likely that a prolonged shutdown could lead to delayed returns and the inability to access IRS assistance phone lines.