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IRS furloughs start May 24

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Posted: 4 pm ET

With the continuing scrutiny into Internal Revenue Service treatment of applications by Tea Party groups for nonprofit status, I suspect that a lot of tax department folks right now might really want to take a break.

IRS employees will get that chance next week. But it's not going to be the relaxing time off from work they would like.

Tax agency workers are facing furloughs. These unpaid days off are one way that IRS management is dealing with the $600 million the agency is losing this fiscal year under sequestration.

The first furlough day is May 24.  The other planned furlough days are June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30. In announcing the forced days off to employees, IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller also noted that two additional furlough days could be added, one each in August and September.

Extending federal holidays

Most of the furlough days fall on a Friday. July 22 is the only one that is a Monday.

And most of the Fridays off are adjacent to federal holidays, days that the IRS already would be closed.

But the furloughs are not good news for IRS staff, who will lose some pay.

The days off also are bad news for taxpayers. On the scheduled furlough days, all of the IRS' public offices will be closed and services unavailable.

That could inconvenience taxpayers and, more likely, tax professionals who regularly work with IRS personnel. And as any employee coming back from some days off can attest, the furloughs will slow down all of the agency's ongoing operations.

So mark your calendars and plan accordingly. If you see you're going to have some tax questions, make sure you get the answers before the IRS puts up a closed sign.

***

Want the latest news on taxes, tax reform prospects, filing deadlines, political fights, Internal Revenue Service alerts and tax-saving tips? Subscribe to Bankrate's free Weekly Tax Tip newsletter.

You also can follow me on Twitter @taxtweet.

Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and a co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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