Next week the IRS will issue furlough notices to employees letting them know that the Service will be closed for five days with unpaid leave for workers this summer because of the Sequester. Acting commissioner, Steve Miller, said that the furlough days will be May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22, and August 30 with two additional days possible in August or September. During these furlough days the IRS will be closed to the public. Also, toll free operations and taxpayer assistance centers will be closed.
The acting commissioner stated, “Despite successful efforts over the past years to find cost savings and our recent efforts to minimize the effects of sequestration, we still had to make tough decisions on the furlough dates and the best way to implement them.” That comment came from an internal memo from Mr. Miller that he shared with Fox Business News. According to the information provided, every IRS worker will be covered by the furlough. Some security personnel may be working on those days but then take off different furlough days without pay.
Obviously, this is not the end of the world but from a taxpayer’s point of view it means that on those days phone calls to the IRS will not be answered.
What’s more interesting is that some experts are of the opinion that because of the furlough there will be fewer audits this year. One group called The Transactional Records Access Clearing House released information showing that audit rates fell by over five percent last year and could fall even more this year since there are less personnel working at IRS available to do the audits.
On April 9, Mr. Miller testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and stated that he believed revenues collected by the Agency will fall as a result of the impact of the sequestration. “Without a change in the current budget environment, the American people will see erosion in our ability to serve them, and the federal government will see fewer receipts from our enforcement activities.”