Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Economy | By

White House says IRS can issue tax refunds during partial shutdown

White House says IRS can issue tax refunds during partial shutdown

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

Last year, and during previous administrations, the IRS said it would not pay tax refunds during a government shutdown.

The stalemate over the proposed Mexico border wall is now in its third week.

Russell Vought, the acting director of the department, said, "Tax refunds will go out", according to Bloomberg.

The IRS will make it as "painless as possible consistent with the law", he added. Last year, between January 29 and March 2, the IRS paid out more than $147 billion in tax refunds to 48.5 million households.

The IRS has sent close to 90 percent of its workforce home without pay due to the government's partial shutdown, according to a contingency plan published by the agency in December. So everyone is still on the hook to pay their federal income taxes, but those who overpaid don't know when they might expect their refunds.

Democratic leaders have been equally steadfast in their opposition to provide any funding.


A lengthy stalemate would complicate this year's tax season, the first under the new law passed by Congress in 2017.

Mr Trump has repeatedly said he would let the shutdown drag on rather than compromise. In the scenario of a prolonged shutdown, those refund checks won't be mailed on time. "It really depends on the Democrats".

And The New York Times reported that lawyers for the Democratic majority on the House Ways and Means Committee thought the move would be illegal.

In addition to issues related to the shutdown, the government is also set to implement changes related to the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Apparently, some of those furloughed will be required to come to work without getting paid - at least until the shutdown is over.

The Senate had actually reached bipartisan agreement on a budget but Mr Trump then refused to back it, demanding the funding for the wall. He has threatened to veto spending bills that don't include the funds as well.

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