President Trump is overruling everyone and is ordering the IRS to make tax refund payments in full and on time.
The Democrats were hoping a prolonged government shutdown would result in problems for the average American and the pressure for Trump to cave to their demands would be enormous.
It is a cynical strategy to be sure and one that Trump just effectively ended after he made his demand to the IRS.
From Fox Business: The Trump administration said on Monday that despite a prolonged partial government shutdown the Internal Revenue Service would still send out tax refunds.
The White House Office of Management and Budget announced the decision in order to make the shutdown as “painless as possible” for citizens, in the event it carries on into tax season.
Billions of dollars in income-tax refunds were potentially at risk of postponement – a payment relied upon by many American households. More than 70 percent of Americans receive money back from the IRS during tax season. Last year, the average refund was more than $2,890, according to the agency.
Filing season, the first under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, begins later this month.
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. It is particularly notable considering President Trump suggested over the weekend that the situation could last for a “really long time.”
From CNBC: A Trump administration official said Monday that federal income tax refunds would indeed go out despite a large part of the government being shut down.
Russell T. Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters about the development in a briefing.
“Tax refunds will go out,” Vought said.
There have been growing concerns that tax refunds might be delayed as 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay as President Donald Trump and Congress are mired in a standoff over funding for a southern border wall.
Only about 12 percent of IRS staff is expected to continue working through a shutdown, according to the agency’s plan, which means certain functions such as answering taxpayer questions would be curtailed. The IRS is still working on contingencies if the shutdown continues.
“The processing of returns and customer service — most of those employees have been furloughed,” said Nicole Kaeding, director of federal projects at the Tax Foundation.
“How will they bring those employees back, and will they be compensated while they’re working?” she asked. “Those are some large questions that haven’t been answered, even though they said refunds would be processed.”