The well-publicized IRS partial shutdown is now into its fourth week.

The successor to the 2018 non-filing season Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan, the 2018 filing season Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan (‘plan’) was released by the IRS a few days ago. The plan covers the same five business days following a lapse in appropriations should it occur during the Tax Year 2018 filing season (January 1 – April 30, 2019).

Under the latest plan, more than 50% of the IRS workforce is required to return to work to perform activities classed in the plan as essential.

This makes the total number of employees required to return to work 46,052. This is 57.4% of the entire 80,265 IRS workforce as at December 22, 2018.

Employees on duty are referred to as ‘excepted/exempt’ employees authorized to work under the plan. The majority are engaged in Category A, ‘Activities Otherwise Authorized by Law’.

Category A Activities

These are activities

  1. supported by funding that does not expire at the end of the fiscal year. This funding must not require the enactment of annual appropriations legislation;
  2. authorized by statutes that expressly permit obligations in advance of appropriations;
  3. authorized by necessary implications from the specific terms of duties that have been imposed on, or of authorities that have been invested in the agency.

Tax Refunds

Of particular note is that tax refunds are paid from the permanent, indefinite refund appropriation. Accordingly, it is this function which is being restored to commence refund processing. The following activities will be conducted:

Processing of:

  • paper-filed income tax returns (the 1040’s)
  • amended income tax returns (1040X’s)
  • injured spouse claims
  • disaster claims
  • Claim for refund
  • Request for abatement in support of issuing refunds (843)
  • Manual refund support.

Other Practice Areas

There has been no change in the plan in the Withholding and International Individual Compliance Practice Area. It shows 20 employees as excepted, both in the non-filing season plan and the filing season plan. However, all employees of the Large Business and International Division (LBI) are designated as On Call.

Call Centres

We observe that whilst the filing season plan has been released, the IRS call centres are still currently closed. We have no current information as to when they might open. A further update will be posted in due course.