A White House official said on Monday that federal income tax refunds would go out, even though a large part of the government and only 12 percent of IRS staff are expected to continue working though the shutdown.
Acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget Russell T. Vought told reporters, “Tax refunds will go out.”
There have been concerns that tax refunds might be delayed as 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay as Donald Trump and Congress are in a standoff over funding for a southern border wall. During the shutdown, only certain functions of the IRS are on-going. Answering tax payer questions however, is not one of them. The IRS is still working on contingencies if the shutdown stretches even further.
Although the IRS hasn’t begun the filing season, millions of taxpayers tend to file their returns as soon as possible. Those households may use their tax refunds to either remove left over holiday debt, clear out bills, or to add on to their savings. Last year, early filing began on January 29th. By the end of the week on February 2nd, the agency had received over 18 million returns and process 6.1 million refunds. The average refund check was $2,035.
The average refund overall in 2018 totaled to be $2,899.