President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency and divert military funds to border wall construction was, to put it lightly, controversial. If, however, the critics can find a silver lining, it’s that this approach could prevent a second shutdown…for now. Unfortunately, however, another shutdown is far from out of the realm of possibility. If this happens, it will wreak havoc on the IRS and American taxpayers. We outline a few likely scenarios below:
Putting a Halt to Essential Functions
In the event of a second shutdown, 43 percent of IRS employees would be sent home. Those remaining on the job would largely focus on accepting tax returns and processing refunds. Critical functions such as auditing would go by the wayside, as could any IRS efforts to assist taxpayers facing stolen identities.
Further Refund Delays
Tax refunds have already seen significant delays in 2019, but the problem could continue if another shutdown occurs. While the IRS employees responsible for processing refunds would still be called into work, there’s no guarantee that all would actually show up. After all, when employees were called in during the final days of the most recent shutdown, over half of employees from the tax return processing division stayed home. Many of these no-shows claimed financial hardship.
Tax refund processing was by no means the only area that suffered employee no-shows during the shutdown. Several IT professionals employed by the IRS either quit or retired during that time. Private sector job opportunities are abundant in IT; little will keep federal employees on board if they can find better pay elsewhere. Malfunctions and hacking are by no means a new phenomenon at the IRS, but the problem will grow that much worse if the agency’s best employees jump ship.
As a 2019 taxpayer, you face considerable uncertainty. Don’t go it alone as you deal with pressing tax concerns; the talented team at the Highland Tax Group is happy to help. Reach out today to learn more about our tax services.