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.”
The shutdown – on its third week and already the second longest in history – was triggered by a fight over funding for a wall along the southern border. About 800,000 federal workers have been affected, many of whom will go without a paycheck for the first time this week.
Trump will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding border security on Tuesday night.