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      Potential government shutdown: Will it affect your tax refund?

      As the April 18th tax deadline approaches, your tax refund could get caught up in this Washington budget battle. The federal government could shut down Friday if Democrats and Republicans don't agree on a spending plan, which likely means some federal employees won't report to work. If IRS employees are off the job, how you file could make a difference in when you see your money.

      Clarissa Stallknecht with Jackson Hewitt said the IRS hasn't seen as many tax returns as usual for this time of year, so, "they are expecting a big rush at the end."

      Which means the threat of a shut down comes at a critical time, when the IRS is busy crunching numbers, and tax returns filed on paper are piling up. It's only if you file on paper by mail, and the government shuts down at the end of the week, that your tax refund could be delayed. T ax audits would also be suspended if there was a halt.

      But if you file electronically, and have your refund directly deposited into your bank account, you will likely be in the clear.

      Regardless of whether the Capital is in a gridlock, if you owe money, you still have to meet the deadline and pay your taxes by April 18th. That's less that two weeks away.

      Previous Coverage:

      Top leaders in the federal government have still not come to an agreement on the federal budget. That means there could be a government shutdown, starting Friday. President Obama said Tuesday he was working hard to prevent that. "It would be inexcusable for us to not be able to take care of last year's business -- keep in mind we're dealing with a budget that could have gotten done three months ago, could have gotten done two months ago, could have gotten done last month -- when we are this close simply because of politics," he said. Still, many people are starting to get nervous about how a government shutdown may affect them. There was a three week government shutdown in 1995-1996, and "non-essential services" came to a halt. MSN compiled thirteen effects of that shutdown. You can read that here. On Wednesday, the American Federation of Government Employees held about 70 rallies across the country to protest cuts to Social Security. Workers say they're concerned about a potential shutdown. "If they close the offices and close the 1-800 number, the public will have no way to communicate with the agency," says Witold Skwierczynski, who works for AFGE. "There won't be any claims taken, so somebody reaches retirement age and wants to file a retirement claim, they have no way of filing it." National parks and historic sites would also be closed if the government shut down. That includes the Women's Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls. Right now, both parties are blaming each other for the stand-off. Republicans say they want specific cuts to the EPA, Planned Parenthood, and the Health Care Law. Speaker of the House John Boehner called the president's proposed cuts smoke and mirrors. Democrats argue the two sides had settled on cutting $33 billion from the budget this fiscal year. With just a few days to go until a shutdown, Republicans put forward another continuing resolution that would keep the federal government funded through the next week. Are you worried about the potential government shutdown? Do you think it would affect you? Post your comments below: