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VERIFY: The IRS normally can't send tax refunds during a shutdown

Tax season waits for no one, including a government shutdown.

Editor's note: This story was initially published on Friday, before a Trump administration official said they would be changing funding rules related to the IRS and tax refunds. The story has been updated.

As the partial government shutdown drags into its third week, President Trump and Congress continue to war over funding for a border wall.

Although the shutdown continues, tax season waits for no one and now we’re seeing claims that your tax refund could be at risk.


Are the articles and claims that the shutdown could delay or impact your tax refunds accurate?


During the shutdown taxes can be filed and submitted to the IRS, but they normally cannot process refunds.

But on Monday, a Trump administration official told reporters they would be changing certain rules to make funding available to get refunds out on time.


Only 10,000 people, out of the 80,000 employed at the IRS, are actually working right now.

In their plan, the IRS confirmed that during a government shutdown, staff responsible for the filing and collection of taxes will continue to work, but those responsible for tax refunds will be furloughed.

The following services typically still run:

  • Completion and testing of the upcoming Filing Year programs
  • Electronic returns that are processed systematically (requiring no intervention by service center functions) up to the point of refunds
  • Processing Paper Tax Returns through Batching.

However, the service of issuing refunds wasn't included in the initial plan for the government shutdown.

Russell Vought, acting director of the White House Budget Office said Monday that: "The refunds will go out as normal. There is an indefinite appropriation to pay tax refunds."

Vought added the Trump administration is changing the customary rules "from past administrations."

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