New Shutdown Contingency Plan Means Some IRS Services Resume

January 15, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

A new IRS Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan released January 15, 2019, states that 57.4 percent of the IRS workforce will be required to work during the Tax Year 2018 filing season as long as a shutdown continues. This compares to 12.5 percent of the 80,265 IRS workers who have been working under the prior (non-filing season) plan. These workers who are "excepted" from furlough will not be paid as long as the shutdown continues. IRS will begin processing individual returns January 28.

The new plan states that the following example operations will occur throughout a shutdown:

  • U.S. Certification Residency Program to issue Form 6166 to Taxpayers
  • Income Verification Express Service (IVES) and Revenue & Income Verification Service (RAIVS) Photocopy Programs.
  • Activities to implement the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  • Activities necessary for the payment of refunds including:
    • Processing electronic returns through issuance of refunds
    • Processing Paper Refund Tax Returns through issuance of refunds
    • Processing 1040X Amended Refund Returns Adjustments including Carrybacks, Amended Returns, Duplicate Filed Returns (DUPF), Correspondence, Injured Spouse Claims, Disaster Claims, F843 Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement in support of issuing refunds
    • Processing Department of Defense Claims for refunds
    • Manual Refund Support - Clerical
    • Document preparation, screening and control of work in Image Control Team
  • Completion and testing of the upcoming Filing Year programs
  • Processing Remittances including Payment Perfection
  • Processing disaster Relief Transcripts
  • Responding to taxpayer filing season questions (call sites)
  • Continuing the IRS’ computer operations to prevent the loss of data
  • Protection of statute expiration, bankruptcy, liens and seizure cases
  • Upcoming Tax Year forms design and printing
  • Protecting Federal lands, buildings, and other property owned by the United States
  • Minimal building facilities personnel to maintain safe conditions for excepted personnel
  • Maintaining minimum staff necessary to perform accounting functions and to prevent the loss of accounting data
  • Administering contracts related to safety of human life or protection of Government property
  • Maintaining criminal law enforcement and undercover operations
It appears that local taxpayer advocate offices will recall staff sufficient to process the mail and to screen the mail for incoming requests for Taxpayer Assistance Orders and notify the appropriate Business Unit that a request has been made tolling any statute of limitations. See IRC § 7811(d).
The plan also states that the following example activities are not excepted and will not continue during a shutdown:
  • Processing Non-Disaster Relief transcripts
  • Most Headquarters and administrative functions not related to the safety of life and protection of property
  • All audit functions, examination of returns, and processing of non-electronic tax returns that do not include remittances
  • Non-automated collections
  • Legal counsel
  • Taxpayer services such as responding to taxpayer questions (call sites) (during Non-Filing Season)
  • Information systems functions (except as necessary to prevent loss of data in process and revenue collections)
  • Planning, research, and training and development activities (except as necessary to perform excepted or exempt activities)

It is unclear at this point what level of service will be available for the excepted activities and when these activities will resume.

We will keep you posted.