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Ron LeeJan 22, 2018, 12:46 pmJan 22, 2018, 6:11 pm

Government shutdown may have significant impact on IRS operations

Shutdown comes at busiest time of year for agency

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HAUPPAUGE — Despite being furloughed in the wake of the federal government shutdown, one Internal Revenue Service worker who did not want to be identified told FiOS1 News the only reason he showed up at the IRS office in Hauppauge on Monday was to tie up loose ends.

"You're allowed a period of time to contact your taxpayers, tell them you won't be in. Any appointments that you have you want to cancel with an indefinite date as to when you're going to reschedule," the worker explained.

While the IRS nationwide has kept more than 35,000 workers on the job who representing about 43.5 percent of its total workforce, the unidentified worker was informed that just about everyone who works in his building received an automatic furlough.

"I'm fortunate enough that it's not check-to-check, but you have medical insurance in there, you have dental insurance, if you have children, you have issues with child care. It affects your life immensely because you're relying on the government to make a decision and you can't do anything about it," the worker said.

With tax-filing season in full-swing until April 30, the shutdown of the U.S. government comes at the busiest time of year for the IRS. Anyone on the receiving end of services should know that some of the functions the IRS will not be performing during the shutdown include audits, return examinations, non-automated collections, and issuing refunds. This could ultimately create a huge backlog of work and potential delays.

"And then when we come back, you're going to have twice as much with less," the unidentified IRS employee added.

Also important to keep in mind is that if one is owed a refund for 2017, one most likely will not be affected unless the shutdown lasts for several weeks. That's because the IRS had previously announced that it would not start accepting 2017 tax returns until Jan. 29. However, if someone is owed a refund for tax years prior to 2017, it's much more likely that they won't see it processed until the shutdown has ended.

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