IRS To Send Tax Returns On Time Despite Shutdown

Daniel Fowler
January 10, 2019

A White House official said Monday that federal income tax returns would go out despite the partial government shutdown.

President Trump has repeatedly said that the government shutdown could go on for months, threatening to declare a national emergency for funding for a barrier at the southern border.

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. Instead, a senior official in the Office of Management and Budget decided that issuing tax refunds should be considered an "indefinite appropriation".

Officials say decisions are still being worked out for IRS staffing and the start of tax filing season. But Trump administration lawyers ruled Monday that the refunds could be processed after all, a move that some Democrats called legally dubious. It is particularly notable considering President Trump suggested over the weekend that the situation could last for a "really long time". That's within the normal timeframe.

Funding for the IRS lapsed on December 22, 2018, leaving the agency to function on a contingency plan that provides some flexibility on operations during the first five days of a government shutdown.

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April 15 is the deadline for most taxpayers to submit 2018 tax returns, taxpayers who live in ME or MA have until April 17 to file due to state holidays.

Tax refunds aren't paid with money appropriated by Congress, but the workers who process the tax refunds are.

The new law, which took effect January 1, 2018, gave generous tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans and more modest reductions to middle- and low-income households.

"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. But it ended up cutting in other areas, with the result that the agency budget is about the same - $11.4 billion - as in recent years.

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