It’s hard enough being an IRS employee during tax season when you’re receiving a paycheck. But having to work as the start of tax season nears without being paid and having to resort to selling some of your belongings on eBay or Craigslist to make ends meet ROYALLY SUCKS.
But this is the current reality for thousands of IRS workers—and scores of other federal employees—who are caught in the middle of the government shutdown, now in its 27th day, but have to return to their jobs not knowing when they’ll be paid next.
The Associated Press reports:
The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown — nearly 60 percent of its workforce — to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won’t be paid during the shutdown.
With the official start of the tax filing season coming Jan. 28, the Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the disruption in government services caused by the partial shutdown now in its fourth week.
In an interview with CNN, IRS analyst Lorie McCann chuckled when she was asked about President Trump’s ridiculous comment last weekend that he can “relate” to federal workers who can’t pay their bills on time and that those employees will “make adjustments, they always do” to their finances.
“This is our reality. Our bills have to be paid. We want to do our jobs. As federal employees, we are a dedicated workforce, and we’re hurting. If we apply for unemployment and if Congress passes a bill and is signed to say that we’ll receive back pay, then we have to pay back the unemployment. If we go for a second job, we have guidelines for outside employment.”
On Jan. 16, the president signed a bill guaranteeing back pay to federal workers furloughed during the government shutdown, and he reportedly let his appreciation for those employees be known during the bill signing:
i luv u pic.twitter.com/4V0D3qtAto
— Trump Draws (@TrumpDraws) February 14, 2017
The new IRS shutdown plan states that 46,052 agency employees will be called back to work, of the total workforce of 80,265. That plan will go into effect once the Treasury Department issues an official notice, according to the AP. Only about 10,000 employees are deemed essential and have already been working during the shutdown.
The Washington Post reported that the IRS will not perform audits during the shutdown, although the agency has years to audit a tax return after it is filed. Walk-in taxpayer assistance centers will remain closed, and the plan says there will be a reduction in tax-related assistance and support for disaster victims. However, the IRS will continue to conduct criminal investigations.
While we’ve poked fun at the IRS from time to time over the years, we really hope these workers—and the other federal employees impacted by the shutdown—get paid soon.
“I’m OK today, but I have to think about tomorrow, and tomorrow I have no control over that. None. I have no control over what’s going to happen. And that’s not a good feeling,” IRS worker Nora Brooks told the AP recently.