Friday, 22 March, 2019

White House orders IRS to issue tax refunds despite shutdown

Bloomberg News Bloomberg News
Russell Knight | 10 January, 2019, 04:38

Millions of USA taxpayers will still receive refunds despite an ongoing partial government shutdown, the White House has said.

Millions of Americans file income tax returns by April 15 for income they earned the previous year, and if they overpaid their taxes then the government issues them a refund.

"Tax refunds will go out", acting director Russell Vought told reporters at a Monday briefing.

A $3 billion "contingency" fund was appropriated by lawmakers for SNAP a year ago, The Post reports.

Pence says the president has invited Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi back to the White House to continue their discussions.

"But it remains unclear", The Hill notes, "whether the administration has the legal authority to hand out refunds during the partial shutdown, which is now in its third week".

During a shutdown, the IRS typically doesn't perform audits, pay refunds or offer assistance to taxpayers if they have questions, especially outside of the filing seasons.

More than 90 percent of IRS employees were sent home during the shutdown.

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The IRS might recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns - probably without pay - in accordance with its usual contingency plans. The move seeks to circumvent a potential political problem for the Trump administration by allowing taxpayers to claim refunds despite the government shutdown, which is already dragging into Day 17.

"We are committed to ensuring that taxpayers receive their refunds notwithstanding the government shutdown", Rettig said.

"Tax refunds will go out".

"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".

Last year, the IRS began accepting returns on January 29.

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

Monday's announcement puts to bed any lingering concerns that the release of tax refunds could be delayed by the ongoing shutdown, which affects the Internal Revenue Service among other agencies.

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