As tax season looms closer, Americans shouldn't expect to receive their tax returns if the government is still shut down when they file.
While President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders fight out common ground on a spending bill, Americans might end up waiting on their annual tax returns.
The partial government shutdown, which is in its 14th day, will delay payouts of any refunds if the government is still shut down at the time of filing and processing.
The Internal Revenue Service is just one among many federal entities impacted by the partial government shutdown.
According to CNN, "The IRS is currently working under non-filing season shutdown plans, and will be updating it ahead of the upcoming tax season as soon as Friday."
A 2017 law stipulates that the IRS typically does not audit, issue refunds, or otherwise work with taxpayers outside of the standard filing season — which includes the time period during a government shutdown.
Kyle Pomerleau, an economist at the Tax Foundation, told CNN, "To the extent that individuals are relying on the refund, any delay is going to be a negative."
"This filing season was always going to be challenging," Pomerleau added. "The IRS was still figuring that out. Individuals were still figuring that out even with the full funding."
At the time of this writing, the IRS has yet to announce when individuals and businesses will be able to submit their income tax returns.
If you're sad about the possibility of not getting what could be a much-needed refund sooner than later, don't worry: if it makes you feel any better, senior Trump administration officials are reportedly on track to receive raises of at least $10,000.
On Friday, The Washington Post reported that "hundreds of senior Trump" appointees will receive said annual raises. These raises are set to go into effect beginning Saturday.
The Washington Post calls the raises an "unintended consequence of the shutdown" in that when lawmakers failed to pass spending bills on Dec. 21, the existing pay freeze lapsed.
The White House has yet to offer comment on the matter at the time of this writing.
The raises are expected to cost taxpayers about $300 million over a period of 10 years.
Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.) — who is also new chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee — is especially troubled by this news.
"At a time when more than 800,000 federal employees aren't getting paid, it is absolutely outrageous that the Trump administration would even consider taking advantage of the shutdown to dole out huge raises to the vice president and its political appointees," Lowey told the outlet in an email.
J. David Cox Sr., national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told the outlet that all federal employees deserve a raise.
"It is wonderful that the president has decided to lift the pay freeze for top executives and his political appointees: They deserve a pay adjustment, as do all the people who work under them," Cox said. "Leadership is about the principle that 'officers eat last.' The administration should make sure that the rank and file receive a pay adjustment before their bosses do."
Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said that Trump would be well advised to issue an executive order stopping the raises.
"It looks like Trump has protected his own appointees, and everyone else gets screwed," Beyer sniped.