Economy

Despite 70000 Furloughed IRS Workers, White House Vows Refunds Will Be Issued

Despite 70000 Furloughed IRS Workers, White House Vows Refunds Will Be Issued

The White House will order the IRS to pay income tax refunds despite the government shutdown, a senior administration official told ABC News.

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.

"Tax refunds will go out", acting director Russell Vought told reporters at a Monday briefing. The agency also announced the January 28 date to start processing returns.

In 2018, the IRS paid more than $212 billion in refunds in the first three months of the year, an average of nearly $2,900.

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

- Food stamps for millions of Americans are at risk of being reduced if government shutdown stretches into February. The new code went into effect in 2018 and this season will mark the first time that filers have used it.

U.S. residents are required to file tax papers by 15 April and can later receive refunds from the government based on income.

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"When I look in my tax software, which is professional tax software, there are many forms that haven't been finalized", said Steven Zelin, a CPA based in Manhattan.

Monday's announcement is a reversal of a traditional policy whereby Americans are allowed to pay taxes during a shutdown, but refunds are not issued.

The shift from the White House comes as officials prepare for an extended shutdown. Now in week three, the partial government shutdown still appears to have no end in sight, with Democrats and the White House far apart.

However, the Trump administration lawyers ruled that the refunds could be paid after all.

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

The IRS staff recalled to process tax returns will still not be paid during the government shutdown.

By the end of November 2018, the IRS had processed over 154 million tax returns.