Limited IRS Operations During Shutdown

The IRS has released its Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan for the 2018 filing season, recalling approximately 57 percent of furloughed IRS employees. NAEA EVP Robert Kerr, EA was quoted in an Accounting Today article, saying that “The agency will try to doggedly deliver the filing season, but it’s going to be ugly in moments in ways we haven’t yet even anticipated.”
The article details the shutdown’s impact, including slower refunds, minimal customer service, and technical glitches. The majority of recalled IRS employees will work without pay, and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) which represents them has filed a lawsuit in protest.
The IRS has also posted to its website a list of limited operations during the appropriations lapse:
  • Automated applications - Where’s My Refund, the IRS2go phone app and online payment agreements remain available.
  • Telephones - No live telephone customer service assistance is currently available, although the IRS will be adding staff to answer some of the telephone lines in the coming days. Be prepared for longer wait times. Most automated toll-free telephone applications will remain operational.
  • In-person service - Walk-in taxpayer assistance centers (TACs) are closed.
  • Taxpayer appointments - Appointments related to examinations, collections, appeals or Taxpayer Advocate cases are cancelled, and will be rescheduled at a later date.
  • Taxpayer correspondence - The IRS will only be responding to paper correspondence to a very limited degree. Expect a lengthy delay for a response after the IRS reopens.
  • Enforcement activity - Although the IRS will not be conducting audits, automated initial contact letters and automated IRS collection notices will continue to be mailed.