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White House official says tax refunds will be sent out despite government shutdown

A Trump administration official said Monday that federal income tax returns would indeed go out despite a large part of the government being shut down.

Russell T. Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told reporters about the development in a briefing.

There have been growing concerns that tax refunds might not go out in time as 800,000 federal workers are either furloughed or working without pay as President Donald Trump and Congress are mired in a standoff over funding for a southern border wall.

About 12 percent of IRS staffare expected to continue working through a shutdown, according to the agency's plan, which means certain functions such as answering taxpayer questions would be curtailed. The IRS is still working on contingencies if the shutdown continues.

Though the IRS hasn't yet kicked off the filing season, millions of taxpayers tend to submit their returns as soon as possible. These households may need the tax refunds to either eliminate their remaining holiday debt or to boost their savings.

In 2018, the IRS started the filing season on Jan. 29.

By Feb. 2 — the end of that week — the agency received 18.3 million returns and processed 6.1 million refunds, with an average refund check of $2,035.

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