Tax refunds will be processed and sent out, even if the government shutdown continues into tax season, a White House official said Monday.
“Tax refunds will go out,” the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, told reporters at a briefing on Monday, according to NBC News.
The country’s tax collector is among the federal agencies affected by the government shutdown, now in its third week.
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 season. And while some of the lights may still be on in the building, the agency is currently operating with only 12.5% of its workforce, or fewer than 10,000 federal employees.
Tax filing season usually begins in mid-January, and if the shutdown is resolved by then it may have little lasting impact on taxpayers.
The partial government shutdown headed into its third week over the weekend.
After two days of staff-level meetings, led by Vice President Mike Pence, the two sides are no closer to a deal, according to multiple people involved from both parties. It was more laying out of positions than talks for a potential breakthrough or pathway out of a partial government shutdown. This isn’t ending any time soon.
The bottom line is that something — and one side — has to give, and at this point neither side has given any indication that buckling is on their agenda. The weekend talks didn’t get them closer to that point, at least not in a manner that will result in a clear next step in the process. Until things loosen up — and to be perfectly clear, people involved have indicated they simply haven’t yet in any tangible way — things will remain in their current place for the coming days, and, quite possibly, weeks.