Government Shutdown Affects IRS

by | Feb 6, 2019

Since the 35-day government shutdown has ended, the IRS has begun processing tax returns—but it has left them weeks behind on work and will take, according to the Washington Post, “at least a year” for the IRS to recover.

This is largely due to the amount of backlogged taxpayer mail (reportedly millions of letters!) that they received during the shutdown as a result of closed in-person centers, fax lines and phone systems. If the IRS processes 20,000 backlogged letters per day, they’ll get through the backlog in 250 business days—almost a full year.

On top of unanswered mail, the IRS couldn’t take meetings, appointments, new audits, U.S. Tax Court cases, or review taxpayer’s submitted applications during the shutdown either. Everything that was on hold now has to be taken care of on top of their normal workload. In light of this, it’s reasonable to expect much longer wait times than usual.

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