Wyden Warns Trump: Accept Funding Agreement or Risk Delaying Tax Refunds
With IRS funding expiring on Friday and the president still wavering on the bipartisan spending agreement announced last night, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) today warned that another Trump shutdown could paralyze the IRS during tax filing season, add to the existing backlog of correspondence and potentially delay refunds.
“Donald Trump may not understand how important tax refunds are to most Americans, but you can bet he’ll find out if he axes this funding agreement, causes another prolonged shutdown and keeps refunds from going out on time,” Senator Wyden said. “We already know Trump was willing to force hundreds of thousands of federal employees and their families into financial hardship during the last shutdown. Now the question is whether he’s willing to risk hurting tens of millions of working people anticipating tax refunds in order to look tough at campaign rallies talking about his wall.”
The first batch of filing season data released by IRS late last week compared the launch of the current tax filing season with the same period in 2018. It showed decreases in the number of tax returns processed and the average dollar amount refunded. In short, the IRS is sending out smaller refunds at a slower rate this year. Before the government shutdown ended in late January, it was also reported that more than half of the employees IRS recalled prior to the start of filing season did not report to work. Another shutdown could lead to more staffing shortages and pose a serious threat to agency operations, delaying refunds further.