Government shutdown affects St. Joseph

From taxes to home loans, St. Joseph is seeing the effects of the government shutdown.

Posted: Dec 27, 2018 9:58 PM
Updated: Jan 2, 2019 10:29 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) The effects of the government shutdown are starting to be felt in St. Joseph. With many government offices closed, Those needing assistance from the IRS or buying a home could be affected.

A local tax accountant shares her experience, 

"If you want to call the IRS for some help right now, you're just out of luck." Jackie Watts, accountant said. 

Watts said she spent a year working on an amended return, and the shutdown is holding her client's refund money up in the air.

"Here we are in almost the end of December," Watts said. "They're still gonna have to wait." 

The IRS offices on the third floor of the UMB Bank building along the Belt Hwy sat empty Thursday, despite signs saying the offices should be open. 

While Watts said there is a contingency plan for the IRS for the rest of the year, she has no idea what happens after that. She said she fears her client will have to wait till the new year for an update.

"All we know is what goes through December 31st." Watts said. "I'm sure I'm not going to get a call back until 2019.

Buying a home has also been affected by the government shutdown. Many first-time home buyers rely on a government backed Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loan.

Dennis Lykins, a loan agent with expertise in FHA loans offered reassurance to borrowers, but he adds anything is possible

"I don't think anyone expects a extended shut down period," Lykins said. "Should this carry on for much longer than anticipated, there could be a couple of rules re-written."

No one really knows how long this shutdown could last, but there's a pretty good idea of what has to happen before it ends.

"A compromise has to be reached." Lykins said. 

Lykins said the FHA loan program should continue as normal for most home buyers during the shut down, while Watts said that the average taxpayer shouldn't expect to be affected by the shutdown so long as it doesn't last into late January.  

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Warm air is in place over northeast Missouri and northeast Kansas on Thursday. Temperatures made it into the lower 50's on Thursday with light winds across the mid west. A pool of cold air is up to the north of the area and will head our way. The cold front will work its way through the region Thursday night with cooler weather behind it for the end of the week.
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