White House: Tax Refunds To Be Sent Out Despite Government Shutdown

Bloomberg News

Americans can still expect to get their tax refunds even though the Internal Revenue Service has been swept up in the federal government shutdown.

The Trump administration said that the IRS will send out tax refunds, despite the partial government shutdown.

The acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, told reporters on Monday that the Trump administration is working to make the "shutdown as painless as possible", adding that tax "refunds will go out". The IRS has not yet announced when individuals and businesses can file their returns, but it's anticipated they could later this month or early next month.

As Vox reported last week, the IRS plan was to furlough all but about 10,000 of its workers, (keeping just 12.5 percent of employees working) thus making processing tax refunds hard, if not impossible.

But it is also the latest in a string of sudden shifts and legal reversals that have shown the White House reverse precedent in the face of public pressure.

The partial government shutdown began over a dispute about border wall funding on December 22. A delay in the announcement or opening of the tax filing season could adversely affect taxpayers and their ability to receive their tax refund on time.

However, tax returns will be filed under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed in 2017. Tax-filing season officially begins January 28, and while those who owe Uncle Sam will still have to pay up by April 15, people who are due to receive money back have anxious about whether the closure could postpone their payments.

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All tax refunds are given through a permanent, indefinite appropriation, and the IRS is of the view that it still has authority to pay refunds despite a lapse in annual appropriations.

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.

"They depend on it, they're looking for it, they want their money, and the longer this shutdown continues, the longer they'll have to wait".

That's what will happen if the shutdown continues past the opening date for tax returns.

A 1040 tax form appears on display, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, in NY.

Tax refunds do not come from money appropriated by Congress but the salaries of the IRS workers do come from Congressional appropriations, which is why employees typically do not work during government shutdowns.

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