IRS Furlough – An “Extended Vacation” from Servicing Taxpayers

In IRS News by Sarah E. Martello

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With Memorial Day (Monday, May 27, 2013) coming up, a lot of Americans are looking forward to a three day weekend.

But don’t wait until Friday to take care of any issue lingering with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). IRS employees will be enjoying an additional day of “vacation” on Friday, May 24, 2013.

This four day vacation is the product of a mandatory “furlough” day. The furlough on Friday, May 24, 2013 is just the first of multiple furlough days during this summer. However, these furlough days are not vacation days but a result of mandatory Congressional budget cuts.

Some may view these furloughs as a way to simagesave tax dollars. But if you have experienced the misfortune of dealing with the IRS, you may understand the illusion.

The IRS is already a notoriously inefficient agency to deal with. Seemingly simple calls our Firm makes to the IRS, on behalf of our Clients, frequently result in being placed on hold for over 45 minutes (on the IRS’s Practitioner Priority Line). Further, once you do make it through the hold process, there’s a chance that the IRS employee will not have the experience, training, knowledge, or patience to effectively assist the Taxpayer.

This sort of government inefficiency epitomizes a snowball effect. The Congressional inability to manage/reduce the deficit spirals downward creating further flaws within inherently dysfunctional government agencies. These automatic budget cuts merely exacerbate the internal problems within the IRS by increasing inefficiency and limiting the IRS’s ability to actual assist Taxpayers.

The silver lining= less IRS audits. Audits of tax returns fell over 5% in 2012 because of fewer man hours for the IRS to perform them, and an even greater decline in audits is expected due to the furlough days.

However, every silver lining has a touch of grey: If the government fails to collect legitimately owed tax dollars, such will eventually increase the tax burden for most Americans.