The IRS has not yet released its shutdown contingency plan, but it has historically been one of the most aggressive federal agencies in reducing operations when federal funding declines.
The IRS chief counsel, who interprets tax law for the agency, is adamant that government employees can stay on the job. Only if their duties during the shutdown protect the government, as opposed to individuals. This means that common taxpayers will face financial hardship.
For example, during the 35-day government shutdown in late 2018 and early 2019, employees from the agency’s internal consumer rights watchdog, the Taxpayer Advocate Service, could only open mail looking for checks made payable to the government. The service said. It cannot conduct case work or help settle taxpayer disputes, which are its basic objectives.
Also, at its beginning The shutdown left about 12 percent of IRS employees on duty unable to answer taxpayer phone calls, receive tax refunds, release liens and taxes, or complete other taxpayer services. The service said. The shutdown comes as the tax agency gets closer to the filing season, which begins on January 1 each year. More employees and thousands of employees answered the phones and processed refunds.