White House Promises Tax Refunds Will Still Be Paid Despite Government Shutdown

Irving Hamilton
January 10, 2019

"We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown", IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said in a statement.

Since this shutdown began on December 22, the IRS has sent home 90 percent of its staff without pay, something that was scheduled to continue indefinitely until Congress appropriated new funds.

Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought emphasized during a Monday briefing with reporters that the Trump administration has worked to make the partial government shutdown as painless as possible consistent with the law.

The Wall Street Journal reported that in past, administrations have said refunds can't be paid while the government is shut down: "The administration's legal argument wasn't clear on Monday", the paper said.

The agency said it will be recalling a "significant portion" of its federal employees, who are on furlough, back to work as tax season approaches. Still, hundreds of billions in refunds would likely still be delayed because funding wouldn't be available, under current rules.

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Officials say decisions are still being worked out for IRS staffing and the start of tax filing season.

Paying these tax refunds could help the White House avoid an enormous political and economic mess next month. He had made earlier attempts to avert the government shutdown, such as a short-term spending bill to fund the government through February 8.

As the government shutdown continues some people are wondering how much longer it will last and if it will affect their tax return.

That's what will happen if the shutdown continues past the opening date for tax returns. If the tax filing season opens later than last year-on January 29, 2019-please explain the delay and whether the lapse in government funding played a role. According to the Tax Policy Center, a middle-income household should on average get a $930 tax cut for 2018, lifting its after-tax income by 1.6 percent.

"IRS employees have been hard at work over the past year to implement the biggest tax law changes the nation has seen in more than 30 years", Rettig said.

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