Impact of partial government shutdown on Federal income tax refunds

Impact of partial government shutdown on Federal income tax refunds


Then what’s the point of furloughing employees in the first place? It’s just paying out extra vacation time. Everyone in every job faces the risk of being laid off, what’s attractive about it happening with a government job is that you know you have a job to go back to.


For most people, risk of being laid off is based on poor individual performance or company performance/strategy. You’d have those as well in a government job but you also incur an additional political risk.

That said, you’re asking a question that makes sense. Things is shutdowns do not make sense in the first place. GDP loss due to them cost more than it would to keep the government open. We’re the only country I know of where this stuff happens. It does not provide any financial savings but as a distraction/political grandstanding tool (just look at both sides looking to score a win rather than compromise), it must be effective otherwise we’d have done away with even the possibility of them by now. Priorities priorities…


Drudge is featuring a news article right now which is pointing to delayed tax refunds.

My personal yardstick is the quarterly tax payment I snail mailed timely back on 15 January. So far my (old fashioned paper) check has not been cashed by the US Treasury. Am pretty sure that in normal times check would have been cashed by now.

The “natives” at the US treasury are restless. They do not cotton to working without pay. Article says many of them live paycheck to paycheck.


Well, guess I wrote that too quickly. My check, mailed on the fifteenth, cleared yesterday. Would have to say that is not too far off the mark. Absent the shutdown check might have cleared at most a day or two earlier. It is difficult to know for certain.


If I had to guess, cashing checks would probably be higher priority than mailing out refunds. Just my gut feeling though.


Agreed. Or at least one would hope so.:grinning:

But I have no refund incoming at this time, so was providing the only surrogate yardstick I’m able to offer.


“Mailing out refunds” - makes me wonder… with ACH for many people receiving refunds, would there be a delay? I would assume humans are uninvolved unless something gets flagged for review. Anyone know?


This is correct. I don’t know the answer to the relevance of ACH vs check though.


As an aside, I really wouldn’t mind a 3 or 4 month vacation with retro pay and not having to work. In the corporate world you get ‘furlow’ which means you use your vacation until you’re out of it and then you have unpaid leave. My heart goes out to the unpaid contractors and vendors who are affected by this shutdown that won’t get retroactive pay.


Yeah but you’d have to hide it from your other colleagues – are you cool with that?

There must be at least a handful of IRS employees who are deemed nonessential who had adequate emergency funds (6+ mo of expenses) and who got to respond by the shutdown by (1) pulling the kids out of daycare (a big $ savings!); then (2) driving to Disneyland and just having a grand old time, checking the news every night to see if they had to go to back tomorrow.

Yes, obviously it would be kinda fun to be them – but – consider their social position. Now that they’re back at work while many of their colleagues are telling “how did YOU survive the shutdown?” stories, they just have to hold really still and stay really quiet and never tell anyone what they did. If they start quietly whistling “It’s A Small World” while their coworkers are explaining about Uber, food banks, and blood plasma, and if word ever gets out, they’re not invited to any more department barbecues and they’ll just have to ride their pariah-dom out until they hit the age-57 minimum retirement.


I’m genuinely curious about how many of these furloughed employees who got back pay for sitting at home, are now going to get paid overtime to catch up on the work that wasnt done during the shutdown?

Maybe I’m just too jaded these days, but that’d be the icing on the cake. Especially when it’s framed as being an unfair burden on the employees.


I’m sure there will be some overtime for some positions. Some employees will definitely come out ahead there. Also if they got a lot of free food and money from Go Fund Me’s, many will come out ahead that way as well.


Such a terrible life those responsible IRS agents have :roll_eyes:


I personally wouldn’t mind a month of true unpaid leave even if I was never going to get paid. But most people aren’t in the same financial position as a lot of people on this board. I don’t think your thoughts indicated you’re jaded, just that you’re a little out of touch with the lives of people who depend on their regular paychecks to pay their bills. I honestly don’t mean this as an attack on you at all, just trying to point out that many people suffered incredible stress from not receiving their pay. And the effects reverberate down the line - even the landlords who may have just a couple properties and rents to all government employees that are all of a sudden in a position where they can’t pay their own expenses.

Most people on here, even without the cash to survive a month without pay in the same situation could probably go to a bank and say “I have this government job, obviously I’m going to get paid in full, can I get a loan?” and they would probably be able to get a loan. But again - there’s a lot of people that can’t do that.


Even easier than that for us here. Credit cards give 30-50 days grace period. Or a year for ~5% with a click for transfer to direct deposit.


I understand the concept of relying on your regular paycheck. What I dont get is expecting a paycheck when you didnt go to work.

And I’m jaded because, of course, there’s no news reports about how all these workers are now getting double or triple paychecks for having done no work at all. All the sympathy and generosity towards those poor furloughed workers was premised on “normal” people’s assumptions that if you dont work, you dont get paid. Make it known these workers are actually getting extra paid vacation for these shutdowns, but the check is just being delayed a couple weeks, and I’ll bet the response would be a much more resounding “That must be nice!” and “I wish I could have a job like that”.


Regular employment comes with the understanding that the work is regular, their contract might even specify it based on an annualized salary. Exception is part time or contract employees.

Government shutdowns are not unprecedented anymore (length this time is), but they’re also not planned for in the contracts.

Private companies will even usually pay at least partially if there’s unscheduled shutdowns, such as a manufacturing plant failure causing a shutdown for repairs. But in these cases they aren’t completely deferred payment even, the companies pay on time or even early(!). So the claim that regular people wouldn’t expect to be paid for unscheduled shutdowns seems ludicrous. Regular people would expect it, and they will quit and move elsewhere if not. It would be much more expensive if the government had to instead find all new employees and somehow train them. I guess I agree that regular people may not think about it, that’s the same reason they can’t bridge the gap when their pay is deferred.

The main difference is instead of machinery failure that might cause a private company to suspend work, we instead had turtle failure. Too bad the costs are paid by the taxpayer instead of distributed to those who caused the costs.