Neal Asks Treasury and IRS to Explain Shutdown Impact on Taxpayers and Upcoming Filing Season

Jan 4, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Ways & Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) sent letters to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig, requesting explanations for how the partial government shutdown, now entering its second week, will affect taxpayers and the upcoming filing season. Nearly 72,000 Treasury employees, including nearly 70,000 civil servants at the IRS, have been furloughed as a result of the funding lapse, and the IRS has indicated it will not issue refunds during the shutdown, nor will it be able to carry out important taxpayer services. While the IRS has not yet announced when filing season will begin, typically it commences in January.  

“I understand that the IRS furloughed nearly 70,000 IRS employees (87.5 percent of the workforce), ceased needed taxpayer services, and stopped issuing tax refunds during the government shutdown,” wrote Chairman Neal. “These actions are causing undue hardship to American taxpayers and the IRS civil servants.”

In his letters, Chairman Neal requested Secretary Mnuchin and Commissioner Rettig provide detailed information regarding how the shutdown will affect the IRS’ ability to accept and process tax returns, provide refunds, and address backlogs in taxpayer correspondence. The Chairman pointed out that delays in refunds could hurt families who each year factor receipt of that money into their budgeting “to pay for basic expenses like rent, food, and child care.”

“Given this is the first tax filing season to reflect the overhaul of the tax law, it is particularly important for stakeholders, taxpayers, and the Congress to understand Treasury’s current capabilities and anticipated challenges, including those related to the government shutdown,” added Chairman Neal. 

Full text of the letter to Secretary Mnuchin is available HERE, and full text of the letter to Commissioner Rettig is available HERE.