Tax Preparers Encouraging People to File Taxes as Normal

STROUD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- The partial government shutdown could complicate this year's tax season Tax preparation companies are starting to get calls from concerned taxpayers who aren't sure what to do.

Workers at Liberty Tax Service in Stroud Township have been getting a lot of phone calls from customers asking what they should do this tax season as the shutdown continues.

The office manager says there are some questions that can't be answered, but what she is advising customers to start getting tax paperwork together now.

Normally during the first week of January, Kendria Angrand from Liberty Tax Service in Stroud Township starts taking calls from people asking if the place is open.

This year calls are coming in, but the questions are different. Customers are asking how and when they should file their taxes, as the partial government shutdown continues.

"People are coming in. The IRS still hasn't opened the filing season, so we continue to tell people to come in, get your documents together, get your W-2, your Schedule C information, and just come on in," Angrand said.

The IRS is working with limited staff during the partial shutdown. If the government shutdown continues, it could delay any refund that's due.

Anyone looking to talk to a representative from the IRS with questions about when they might get their refund is greeted with an automated phone message: "Welcome to the IRS. Live telephone assistance is not available at this time. Normal operations will resume as soon as possible."

Tax preparers say it's hard to answer the question of when someone might get their refund, should the shutdown drag on.

"Who knows? (It's) part of the unknown. It's unfortunate, but hopefully, this won't extend beyond a couple of weeks," said Paul Davison, the general manager at H&R Block in East Stroudsburg.

He says that the IRS can process tax returns during a shutdown, but it can't hand over tax refunds.

"They do want people to file their returns but they will just be held at the gate and when the gate opens, they will be processed and refunds will be released," Davidson explained

"We hope that they come to a solution quickly because people are getting ready, people are coming in filing taxes, and so we hope for a quick resolution," Angrand said.

Tax preparers are encouraging people to call or stop in to your local office to ask questions as this tax season begins.

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