IRS shutdown means a furlough for 90% of IRS employees
According to the just-released IRS shutdown Plan, “Non-excepted” functions—which will shut down—include IRS headquarters and administrative functions, audits and examinations (we assume Offshore Voluntary Disclosures with this), processing of paper returns that do not include remittances, legal counsel, and taxpayer services. So the question is, which of the remaining 10% of IRS employees will be working come October 1, 2013?
Which parts of the IRS won’t be affected by the shutdown?
- law enforcement activities
- processing of tax returns
- continuation of of lien and seizure cases
- maintaining building security and facilities personnel, and criminal law enforcement operations.
As we have seen in the past, this means that Automated Collection Systems and Field Collection Offices (the place where Revenue Officers are located) will be closed. This could be bad news for someone who has been issued a levy and is looking to get it removed. Typically what will happen is that a Territory Manager will perform triage functions, addressing the most important cases until the IRS is back at full strength.
Shutdowns are not so great.
If the IRS shutdowns were going to be for good, I wouldn’t mind so much. I would dance in the fields of my biggest libertarian fantasy if the income tax was properly buried with other progressive abominations such as eugenics.
But we know that’s not happening. And the truth is, we dislike these shutdowns. Our job is to get tax problems gone as quickly as possible. While it is nice to be able to catch up on our own work, the IRS employees will be dealing with backlogs of requests.
The other issue is that these shutdowns hurt IRS employee morale. This does NOT help us. We’ve heard from quite a few disgruntled IRS employees, some of the more talented ones who left the private sector to join the IRS — and they are truly fed up with being overworked and unfairly scrutinized. Tired of being associated with the scandals of a non-profit unit. There are many who are truly wondering if they can endure the pain of working at the IRS until they reach retirement age.