IRS leaders have told all 97,000 of their employees to take the day off. In fact they have told them to take five days off in 2013. At first blush this would appear to be a magnanimous gesture to show appreciation for the hard working civil servants who toil within the federal tax machine. However, the furloughs of IRS employees will be unpaid. And since there will be no employees, the IRS will close its doors to taxpayers, too.
In an effort to comply with the Congress "sequester" mandate, the IRS will be closed to employees and taxpayers alike on the following days in 2013: May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and August 30. IRS management has reserved the right to add other days at a later time.
Because none of the furlough days are considered federal holidays, the shutdown will have no impact on any tax-filing deadlines. The IRS will be unable to accept or acknowledge receipt of electronically-filed returns on any day the agency is shut down. So, the shutdown should have no effect on returns filed or revenues received. Actually, the IRS may be able to increase penalties assessed to taxpayers who miss deadlines because the IRS is closed.
The genius behind this action is that IRS leaders are demonstrating that the IRS is overstaffed, its budget is too big and the daily efforts of IRS employees are not essential. From the IRS employees' perspective, this may be akin to the ship's captain who announced to his crew, "Now hear this. All leave is cancelled until morale picks up."
We hope that Congress is paying attention. This heroic federal agency is showing through policy and practice how we can reduce federal spending by 2% (5 days/260 days) without any negative impact on the function of government.
Our thanks to the brave IRS bureaucrats who have shown us the way to shrink government and reduce spending. Our condolences to Acting IRS Commissioner Miller, who has been asked to resign just when we need a visionary leader.
Thank you for your attention.
Citizens for Tax Complexity