Partial government shutdown could delay your tax returns

The latest problem caused by the partial government shutdown could be a delay in your tax refund. Several hundred IRS employees may stay home from work because of "financial hardship."

This all comes just days before tax filing season which starts Monday. 

When thousands of furloughed IRS workers were called back to work last week, the goal was to get the service on track ahead of tax season. But, they were asked to work without pay. 

Now union representatives say their employee contracts allow hundreds of IRS workers to stay home because of “financial hardship,” like being unable to pay for gas or childcare. 

The Washington Post reports some of those workers won't show up in protest of the shutdown. 

“The people that interact with taxpayers have been very much harmed. People that I would normally ask questions of the IRS are not working right now, so it's difficult,” said CPA Todd Koch, who is a partner at John A. Knutson & Company in Falcon Heights. 

This year especially, there may be many questions from the public. The "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act" drastically changed the Nation's tax code, so this will be the first round with the new format for everyone.  

One IRS employee told the Washington Post that the shutdown could delay refunds for months. 

“I think it's going to impact how quickly they get filed, and if they get delayed in getting filed, there is going to be delays in refunds. The delay in getting them filed, a lot of it is getting those answers. How can you get answers if there aren't people there to answer questions,” Koch said. 

Koch has this message to lawmakers in Washington: 

“I would just like for the cooler heads to prevail and they can come to a solution,” Koch said. “Everyone that earns dollars generally pays taxes, and it would be nice to allow us to do that in a timely manner.”

The union and the IRS are not releasing numbers on exactly how many employees could stay home.