The record-long partial government shutdown has been going on for nearly a month. More than 800,000 government employees are either furloughed or working without pay. But the shutdown is affecting far more people than just these workers. Americans across the country are experiencing the ripple effect of suspended government operations.
Most IRS operations have been halted. This has led to homebuyers being restricted from purchasing houses—since mortgage lenders rely on the IRS to verify any borrower’s income. And with tax season just around the corner—not to mention the extreme complication and confusion expected from the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—the administration has decided to bring back some IRS operations.
The White House has released a new emergency plan, which calls for government employees in several agencies to return to work—without pay. Among these agencies is the Internal Revenue Service.
Around 10,000 IRS employees have continued to work since the partial shutdown began last December. Trump has now called for 46,000 to return to work—representing about 60 percent of the agency’s personnel. With the additional assistance, the IRS is expected to:
- Conduct criminal investigations,
- Issue tax refunds and
- Process mortgage forms.
However, other key services remain limited:
- The IRS cannot currently conduct audits.
- There will be no walk-in taxpayer assistance centers.
- Tax support for disaster victims will be reduced.
It is as of yet unknown whether the shutdown will affect the upcoming tax filing season.
The complexity of the recent tax reform, combined with the lack of government-sponsored taxpayer assistance programs, are sure to make this year’s tax filings especially complicated. A tax attorney can provide valuable assistance in your tax return preparation.