New Dem chairman seeks info on shutdown's impact on tax-filing season

Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealCBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion Mexican president urges Pelosi to get USMCA trade deal approved On The Money: Judge tosses Trump lawsuit over NY tax return subpoena | US, Japan sign trade deals | Trump faces narrowing window for trade deals | NBA sparks anger with apology to China MORE (D-Mass.), the new chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Friday asked the leaders of the Treasury and IRS for information about how the partial government shutdown will affect the upcoming tax-filing season.

“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,” Neal said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback Trump: Treasury 'ready to go' on sanctions against Turkey: 'Stay tuned' MORE. He sent a similar letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

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The IRS is one of the agencies whose funding lapsed on Dec. 22. Employees who are involved in issuing refunds are generally furloughed under the agency's non-filing season contingency plan.

Neal notes in his letters that last year, the IRS announced on Jan. 4, 2018 that the filing season would start Jan. 29, 2018. The IRS has yet to announce a date when the filing season will start this year. Last year, the average refund issued during the filing season was about $2,800.

"This is money families expect to receive in a timely fashion each year in order to pay for basic expenses like rent, food and child care," Neal wrote.

Neal asked Mnuchin and Rettig questions including when the filing season will begin, whether the IRS will issue refunds at any time during the shutdown, and when the IRS will implement a fiscal 2019 filing-season contingency plan.