White House says IRS will pay tax refunds despite government shutdown

WASHINGTON – A Trump administration official says income tax refunds for 2018 will go out on time during the partial government shutdown because rules will be changed to make funding available to pay them.

Russell Vought, acting director of the White House budget office, tells reporters: “The refunds will go out as normal. There is an indefinite appropriation to pay tax refunds.”

The IRS may recall a large number of furloughed employees to process returns — probably without pay — in accordance with its contingency plans. But with the shutdown in its third week, concern was growing that hundreds of billions of dollars in refunds would be delayed until the shutdown ends because funding for them wouldn’t be available.

Vought says the administration is changing the customary rules “from past administrations.”

The administration is seeking to avoid a delay in payouts of tax refunds to millions of Americans who are owed money.

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.

The country’s tax collector is among the federal agencies affected by the partial government shutdown, which is now in its third week.

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