The IRS is rushing to update their systems after the largest change in the tax code in 30 years. Seven out of eight IRS employees have been off work for at least 25 days. Employees are being called back to work as the tax season begins, but they will be unpaid until the partial government shutdown ends. Here are some things you can expect for this tax season:
Slower refunds-there are less staff available to manage the full filing season. Many returns are filed automatically, but if a return is flagged for an issue, it could take longer for that return to be reviewed. For people who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or one of the subsidies through the Affordable Care Act, refunds won’t be sent until at least February 15th to allow time for extra scrutiny.
Minimal Customer Service-Call lines are due to re-open, but there are likely to be more questions this year due to all of the tax changes and there will be less employees available to help answer those questions.
Low employee morale-Though some IRS employees are being called back to work, they are not being paid. Employees who are working will be trying to finish the same amount of work with less people.
If you need to contact the IRS, you should plan for long wait times. When the partial shutdown comes to an end, there will still be a backlog of work for IRS employees to deal with. This tax season we will all have to try to be patient and make the best of a less than ideal situation.