OMB Approves Refunds During Shutdown & IRS Announces Tax Season to Begin January 28

Despite the ongoing government shutdown discussed last week, White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought announced on Monday, January 7, 2019 that tax refunds will be issued even though the IRS has not traditionally processed refunds to taxpayers during prior government shutdowns and the Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan in effect through December 31, 2018 noted that refunds would not be issued.  With the majority of IRS employees still furloughed, details regarding how and when such refunds will be processed remain uncertain. 

Several hours after the OMB’s announcement regarding the IRS’ ability to pay tax refunds during the shutdown, the IRS announced that the filing season for 2019 would begin January 28, 2019.  Although no announcement has been made in regards to an updated Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan, the IRS indicated in its release that a “significant portion of its workforce” who are currently furloughed will be recalled in the upcoming days to assist with the filing season and that an update should be “released publicly in the coming days.”