Billions of dollars in income-tax refunds were potentially at risk of postponement - a payment relied upon by many American households. The new code went into effect in 2018 and this season will mark the first time that filers have used it.
IRS offices are closed, tax questions are not being answered and there was a concern that refunds to early-filers this year might not be issued on time if the shutdown drags on, financial experts said.
This caught many White House officials flat-footed, as several cabinet secretaries and agency leaders left Washington over Christmas week for vacations and other travel. Last year, the average refund was more than $2,890, according to the agency. The move seeks to circumvent a potential political problem for the Trump administration by allowing taxpayers to claim refunds despite the government shutdown, which is already dragging into Day 17.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly to reporters.
The Trump administration reversed a long-standing policy which would have prohibited the IRS to issue refunds during the partial shutdown that began December 22, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Trump's decision to trigger the shutdown was only made two days before it began, leaving many agencies unprepared. Administration officials have been looking for ways to ensure refunds could go through, even if President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats fail to resolve their dispute over whether to fund construction of a wall on the United States' southern border. "I appreciate the hard work of the employees and their commitment to the taxpayers during this period", said Chuck Rettig, IRS commissioner. Trump "has directed OMB to take steps to mitigate the impact of the shutdown on everyday Americans", Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the briefing.