1) ANNUAL MAILING - I am sending out my annual mailing January 7th. You should receive it later that week (2nd week of January). It contains the newsletter and the annual client worksheets (pages 1, 2 and 3). If you want to get started early or you do not receive your mailing, all of those documents are available here on the web site (under the "Before We Meet" tab).
2) GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN - Impossible (at this time) to know what affect this will have on processing tax returns. Of course it depends on how long it last which is indeterminate at this time. I will update this topic as more information becomes available.
My general advice is to file as early as possible - when you are sure you have ALL of your tax documents together. While the IRS may not be processing returns (for whatever reasons) we can still get tax returns filed and accepted. I do not know of anything to be gained by waiting, no matter what the outcome of the above.
UPDATE 01-07-19 - IRS will be open for business on time (Jan 28th) and will disburse pay refunds during the shutdown. Full story here...
UPDATE 01-15-19 - I can now prepare and file tax returns. Open for business!