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IRS To Furlough 67% Of Staff During Shutdown – Here We Go Again?

IRS To Furlough 67% Of Staff During Shutdown – Here We Go Again?

According to Law360The Internal Revenue Service would furlough two-thirds of its staff if Congress can't reach an agreement to avoid a shutdown of the federal government, under a contingency plan released On September 28, 2023.

About 30,000 Of The Agency's 90,000 Employees Would Continue Working During The Shutdown,
According To The Plan Posted On The U.S. Department Of The Treasury Website.

Employees who continue working during the shutdown would be paid using funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, according to the plan.

All audit work and examination of returns would stop during a shutdown, as would non-automated collections and most headquarters operations and administrative functions not pertaining to safety of life and protection of property, the plan said.

The IRS also won't respond to paper correspondence during a shutdown, and 363 Taxpayer Assistance Centers nationwide would close, Treasury said. Further, the IRS would only process refunds that it can directly deposit automatically and that result from error-free, electronically filed returns, Treasury said.

"Most Core Tax Administration Functions Would Stop," Treasury Said.

Treasury said the IRS will continue preparing for the upcoming filing season, including by updating tax forms. Treasury also said the agency will provide income verification to banks and others, and will process transcript requests after disasters. Information technology functions needed to safeguard taxpayer data would also continue during a shutdown, Treasury said.

The Plan Covers The First Five (5) Business Days
After Funding Has Dried Up. 

If the shutdown lasts longer, the agency's deputy commissioner for operations support will order a review of ongoing work and identification of needed excepted positions and personnel adjustments, according to the plan.

Doreen Greenwald, national president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said Thursday that frontline workers, including those who open mail and process tax returns, have begun preparing for the financial hardship of missed paychecks.

"NTEU remains concerned about the stress that thousands of IRS workers in every state are dealing with right now knowing their income is in jeopardy," Greenwald said in a statement.

The shutdown could hamper IRS efforts to hire more workers to ease the backlog of tax work, Greenwald said. She also predicted it will be "incredibly difficult" for taxpayers to do business with the agency during the impending shutdown, with employees potentially "locked out of doing their jobs," she said.

The partial government shutdown that lasted from Dec. 22, 2018, to Jan. 25, 2019, resulted in 87,000 amended returns not getting processed, the agency's Taxpayer Advocate Service said at the time. The shutdown resulted in the furlough of about 88% of IRS employees.

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Read more at: Tax Times blog

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