Treasury: Tax Refunds are Safe in the Event of Another Shutdown

Even if there is another shutdown, the Treasury Department says taxpayer refunds will still be paid.

The Treasury Department said this week that even if the government were to shutdown again at the end of the week, taxpayers will still get any tax refunds they may be owed.

The IRS will be following its most recent contingency plan which says that 57.4% of the IRS workforce (46,052 employees) are now considered exempt from the shutdown and would work to handle services such as processing tax refunds. The Treasury Department said that it would only release a new contingency plan if “significant modifications” take place.

The IRS had said under its previous contingency plan that many more agency employees would be furloughed in shutdowns which ultimately meant the agency would still collect your taxes but not be able to pay refunds in a timely fashion. The revised contingency plan, however, made amends for that.

The move by the IRS to change its policy on having more employees work in the event of a shutdown has upset the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) which represents about 70,000 federal employees who work at the agency. When word about the change first got out, the union raised the possibility that a number of agency employees would not return to work as ordered by the federal government to process the tax returns because of the labor contract between the union and the agency. It’s possible some employees could request a hardship exemption to avoid working under the agreement, but remains to be seen if this might happen in a future shutdown and if these requests would be granted by the agency. (see Unions, Tax Returns and the Shutdown)

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.