The Internal Revenue Service is telling its employees to be prepared for the agency to shut down for at least five Fridays between May and August. IRS Acting Commissioner Steve Miller sent a memo to employees stating that every worker would be furloughed for at least five days and the dates chosen so far are May 24 (the Friday before Memorial Day), June 14 (Flag Day), July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30 (the Friday before Labor Day) with two additional days possible in August or September.
"Rather than staggering the furlough days so that someone at the IRS is always there to assist taxpayers every working day, the President has once again decided to inflict the maximum amount of pain on Americans via the modest sequester cuts he came up with last year,"stated Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas, a senior Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has oversight of the IRS. During these days, all public-IRS operations will be shut down, including toll-free numbers, and local Taxpayer Assistance Centers. "When small business owners have questions about payroll taxes or a family is wondering where their refund check is, someone needs to be on the other end of the telephone to answer those questions."
While some taxpayers may be hoping this means fewer audits, Brady noted that acting IRS Commissioner Miller testified in the House earlier this month that he expects collection of tax revenues to drop considerably and taxpayer calls to go unanswered. "Sadly, this is more political stunting from this White House, which refuses to believe this bloated federal government can take even a two cent cut in spending. Tell that to families who haven't seen their income increase, though their tax burdens at the local, state and federal levels certainly have."