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Is the government shutdown going to effect my tax return

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Is the government shutdown going to effect my tax return

Tax Refund Schedule - and Filing with Paycheck Stub without W-2
UPDATED FOR 2018 Tax Year (January 2019) -  Every Year, Most Folks really don't like this answer but it is the truth!!!

SEE ATTACHMENT SHOWING ORIGINAL (now likely outdated because of Federal shutdown) 


JANUARY 4, 2019 UPDATE:  Major news services have all reported that the IRS, with only 12% of its workforce currently being able to work (without pay), will be able to receive tax filings as of the original late January, 2019, date, BUT no refunds can be processed nor a schedule of refunds be available until the Federal Goverment shutdown ends and IRS employees are allowed back to work on the task of processing the refunds to be sent out.


What will this mean?  Rushing to file is guaranteed to not speed your refund and if you jump the gun without your W-2, has a great chance of delaying because your data will be wrong and you will have to file a paper Amended 1040X which the shutdown IRS will not even touch for months.


Don't be like these people who now got themselves a big headache:
2019 UPDATE OF "How do I fix this because I did not use my W-2 when it finally arrived?" 


NO! You cannot change your filing once you hit "submit" and file

##  Look Folks, I'm a retired Jake - firefighter - and not an employee of Intuit. I've got no ax in this argument -           
##  just telling you the simple truth.  Some folks will file based on copying information from their last                          
##  paycheck and they won't get into trouble, others and in fact many more others will find that they                         
##  created trouble for themselves and also delayed their refund.  So do as you want, I'm just here to try to help.       
##  SHORT ANSWER: NO!  Don't use your paycheck stub instead of waiting a little time for your W-2!            
##                                  WHY?  Because you won't get your refund any faster and probably slower!         
DISAGREE?  DON'T LIKE SHORT ANSWER?  READ ON!  Hey, Look I know a lot of us want that refund as fast as it is possible to get it - and for good reason.  But using your paycheck stub instead of the Form W-2 can cause you to overpay taxes, or delay your refund, or be the opportunity to have correspondence from the IRS.  So the answer to "Can I use my last paycheck stub instead of W-2?" is "Do so at your own risk and you will likely regret it for any one of several reasons!"  
=========>>>>>> Don't believe me?  Scroll down to near bottom and read how others last year really fouled up their own taxes and refunds!!!!!  Check out the links of posts from last year! Use a paycheck stub and risk serious problems - getting an audit/inquiry letter from the IRS - having your refund delayed -  and having to file an Amended Return Form 1040X (& this is really a "Delight!")

If you want to use your last pay stub simply for estimation - that's fine, but if you want to use it to actually file your taxes -then that is certainly your choice but before you do that - please read what follows (REALLY!).  Yes, I know it is a long answer but it covers the questions of  1) Filing without a W-2;  
2) Tax Refund Schedule  and 
3)  Earned Income or Additional Child Credit - delays in refund
4)  W-2 Importing will be available sooner that the printed form - probably by second week of January.

5)  TurboTax Advertising "Accepting Returns" as opposed to actually being processed6)  Forms 1099-INT DIV and B for Interest Earned, Dividends Received, and any investments
While many folks really do need that refund money as soon as possible, and I understand that totally, be patient unless you want to become an expert in learning how to file an amended return - the Dreaded Form 1040X!  
READ==>>: To prove the point, you can scroll down to near bottom and read just a few of the requests for help posted earlier   - examples of TurboTax users who filed without a W-2 for last year, and then had to ask for help in filing an Amended Form 1040X which is printed, mailed, and almost guaranteed to be audited:

It is certainly up to you to do what you want when it comes to the subject of going forward with your last pay stub in hand or waiting the several days to several weeks to get your real actual Form W-2 , and the electronic download and import of the W-2 may be available much earlier than the paper form and it avoids any possible error! 

Don't forget the W-2 is also submitted to the IRS by your employer.  If you are an employee with any type of employee benefit, paid either by your employer or by monies withheld from you, the problem is that the W-2 may not report the same monies as show on your last paycheck stub.

If you have Bank or other interest, you need to wait to receive, or be able to access online at your bank or financial service company, the Form 1099-INT - generally by end of January but usually earlierIf you have any type of investment that produces Dividends or you sold any investments, you need to wait for the availability of Forms 1099-DIV and 1099-B  [DIV by end of January but usually earlier]

TAX PROCESSING AND REFUND DATES:  See Attached Image at the bottom!
TurboTax advertises that it "Accepts" your filing usually in the first week of January but it does nothing with it and you cannot go back to it and change it if you find you failed to report any income!!

Most of the "SuperUsers" on this blog are long-time practitioners in tax filing or tax accounting but we are NOT employees of TurboTax or connected to it.  Our uniform recommendation is to wait for the reasons below.  Every year we see folks come back asking for help in filing an Amended Tax Return, Form 1040X, because they made the decision to file using only a paycheck stub.

I accept the argument that certain tax preparation services, which shall remain nameless except for the court cases they have lost and the fines that they have paid in this matter, are perfectly happy to suggest that you can (You can read at the bottom here where the IRS clearly says it is a violation to offer to file for you without Form W-2 in hand!).

WHY NOT? The problem is that if you use your "last paycheck stub" as an estimator of what you think will be on the W-2, there is a great chance you will guess wrong. This is particularly true if you have either some form of benefit such as a cafeteria plan or insurance [non-medical] most particularly life insurance, or you have any type of deferred compensation or savings plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or the like. The last paycheck stub dollar amounts in total will likely be right for gross income but the allocation may well change because when the W-2 is issued, some monies paid to you are recharacterized and appear in other boxes than you expected.

So, WHAT'S THE RISK? If you guess wrong by using the last paycheck and the numbers don't match up, you will get the opportunity to receive an audit inquiry from the IRS and you will have the wonderful opportunity to learn the magical mysteries of filing an amended Form 1040X and the equivalent state form which is often even more mystical and challenging.

WHAT'S the GAIN? Not much because the IRS doesn't start processing and accepting your filing until mid-January [for TY 2018 the start date is JANUARY 21, 2019, at the earliest [see note re: Federal shutdown]***See Schedule in image at bottom****  and that is only if you do not  claim certain itemized deductions [on Schedule A] or do not file for Earned Income Credit or additional Child Tax Credits.  [If you do file for these credits or benefits, please note that  the IRS pays special attention to these credits, which have been abused in past years.]  

So rushing to file will not mean an earlier refund simply because the IRS will not have even started processing

The problem is that there is a great chance you will either leave money on the table [over paid with no good reason and now lose it] or you will underpay taxes [and risk being audited because your income does not match the reported]

IF you have not received your W-2 yet, and it would seem unlikely since you are probably reading this in late December or early January, and W-2's typically start showing up late in the second week of January, you are strongly advised to wait.  In fact, have you checked to see if by the end of the first week of January or in the second week, you can download/import your W-2 automatically and without error?

Your W-2 may and typically does contain information and values not in your paycheck, so attempting to file without the official form is a pretty good predictor that you will either leave money on the table with the IRS or else get a letter saying you didn't leave enough - neither is a good situation.

Further, if you are filing by printing and mailing in, you can't without submitting a copy.

While many folks really do need that refund money as soon as possible, be patient unless you want to become an expert in learning how to file an amended return! 

Examples of PRIOR YEAR  WHOOPS! Filing without a W-2:

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3034261-i-filed-using-my-last-pay-stub-not-knowing-now-my-refund-i...  Use Paycheck Stub - have delayed refund - exactly!

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2941037-i-already-e-filed-using-my-last-paycheck-and-now-i-got-my-...   -Overstated his income and therefore paid too much in tax

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2936121-i-let-someone-talk-me-into-using-my-check-stub-and-just-go...  Another who overpaid his  taxes.

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3027748-irs-said-for-me-to-send-in-my-w2-becae-i-used-my-last-payc...   Greetings from the IRS!

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3082790-my-w-2-and-my-final-paycheck-do-not-match-what-should-i-do  Hmmm. The W-2 numbers are not the same as on my paycheck stub!

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3350554-i-guestimated-my-gross-income-from-one-w-2-and-it-was-high...  Whoops!

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2143400-my-last-paycheck-stub-shows-a-different-amount-than-my-w2-...  The typical problem and now it's too late - Welcome to Form 1040X

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2997549-w-2-total-different-than-last-pay-stub-cause-of-cafateria-...  and he did not mean a coffee shop!

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2120101-based-on-one-of-my-last-pay-stubs-i-made-more-than-what-is...   Catch it before you file without W-2

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/1958950-i-have-not-received-my-w2-yet-but-was-doing-my-taxes-from-...  More overpayment of taxes

https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/2970896-estimated-w-2-with-pay-stub-got-w-2-want-to-correct-return  Another oportunity to learn about Amending and Form 1040X

For any tax-preparer to state that they can prepare and file your tax return without a W-2 is a violation of law.   Read below.
Instruction by IRS to Preparers:  Not allowed to prepare and file without W-2
Publication 1345, Handbook for Authorized IRS e-file Providers for Individual Income Tax Returns when it states:
"EROs must not electronically file individual income tax returns prior to receiving Forms W-2, W-2G or 1099-R. If the taxpayer is unable to secure and pro­vide a correct Form W-2 . . . the ERO may electronically file the return after the taxpayer completes Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement . . . If Form 4852 is used, the non-standard W-2 indicator must be included in the record, and the ERO must maintain Form 4852 in the same manner required for Forms W-2, W-2G and 1099-R."1
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Is the government shutdown going to effect my tax return

Yes, of course it will.  The IRS has not even announced yet when they will begin to accept 2018 tax returns.  Many of the forms are not finalized for 2018 returns, and now the shutdown will slow that process down even more.  No one knows at this point how long the shutdown will last, or what the IRS will be able to do to cope with it.  Right now, there is certainly no reason at all to rush to file your tax return.  Wait for all of your tax documents like your W-2's, 1099's, etc. to arrive so that you can complete your tax return completely and accurately.  Do not try to e-file early, or your tax return will just sit on a server where you can do nothing to it to correct any possible mistakes you discover.

**Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to offer the most correct information possible. The poster disclaims any legal responsibility for the accuracy of the information that is contained in this post.**
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