It remains to be seen how long Trump's government shutdown will continue but, even if it ends relatively soon, it may still result in delays for issuing tax refunds.
Some Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees responsible for processing returns are still on the job, but the overwhelming majority of the agency has been furloughed, meaning they'll have a backlog to process when the shutdown ends.
The agency has categorized issuing tax refunds as a "non-excepted" activity — meaning those tasked with processing refunds would be furloughed during a shutdown. Meanwhile, several types of tax return processing were deemed "Necessary for the Safety of Human Life or Protection of Government Property." [...]
The IRS plan says that only 12.5 percent of the IRS workforce is authorized to work during a shutdown, while the rest of the agency faces furloughs. [...]
A delay in tax refunds is likely to disproportionately affect low-income Americans, The Wall Street Journal reports. With little or no income-tax liability, these taxpayers often use a sizable refund to help pay down debt, the publication says.
This could be bad, or it could be much worse.
We don't know when the government shutdown is going to end. House Democrats passed a funding bill to reopen the government last night, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he won't hold a vote on a funding bill that doesn't include money for Trump's fantasy border wall.
Even if McConnell eventually caves and holds a vote, Trump could veto the funding bill.
The shutdown could end next week, or it could end next month. It feels inconceivable to say it could last even longer than that, but it really could.