Worried about your tax refund during the government shutdown? The White House Office of Management and Budget says that tax refunds will be paid even if the federal shutdown drags on through the filing season.

Traditionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has not issued refunds to taxpayers while the government is shut down. That appeared to be the case this time when the Department of Treasury posted its Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan for the IRS last month. That plan, which noted that tax refunds would not be issued, described the actions and activities following a lapse in appropriations through December 31. (You can read more here.)

However, today acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, declared, “Tax refunds will go out.”

It is unclear how that might happen and how that might impact other IRS operations. Despite signals that the IRS might issue an updated contingency plan last week, no update has appeared on the site.

When the announcement was made, the IRS had not yet announced a start date to the filing season. The IRS announced later in the day that the start date for the new season would be January 28, 2019. Last year, the IRS opened the filing season on January 29, 2018.

The due date for the 2019 filing season remains April 15, 2019, for most taxpayers. However, taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts will have until April 17, 2019, to file their federal income tax returns. (You can read more here.)

Last year, the IRS processed 136,359,149 tax returns during the regular tax season; just over 10% of taxpayers tend to file an extension, bringing the total number of tax returns processed during the year to 154,058,000. Of those returns, over 70% resulted in tax refunds, worth $324 billion to 111,911,000 taxpayers, with the average tax refund check ringing in at $2,899.

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Kelly Erb is a tax attorney, tax writer and podcaster.

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