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Government shuts down: IRS among agencies most deeply impacted

Happy holidays?

More like “Bah, humbug!”

The federal government — or at least parts of it, anyway — has come to a grinding halt. Despite a few last-minute discussions, the U.S. Senate declined to vote Friday night on a stopgap funding package that would have kept the lights on for a while longer. The sticking point was billions in proposed funding for President Trump's promised border wall.

Now, just days before Christmas, hundreds of thousands of government employees face the prospect of working without pay ... or not working at all.

What's open? What's closed? Here's how NBC News assessed the potential fallout:

"Congress has already funded 75 percent of the government through September 2019 — which means that many major departments like Defense, Veterans Affairs, Energy and Education will remain open and fully functioning.

"The shutdown will primarily impact seven agencies which have not been funded and run out of money at midnight Friday: Homeland Security, Transportation, Commerce, Interior, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice. Other independent agencies like NASA, the FDA, the EPA and the IRS would have to furlough most of their employees.

"Those departments and agencies will continue to be staffed by 'essential' employees who would work without pay until the shutdown ended. All other 'non-essential' employees will be sent home without pay."

By some estimates, the number of furloughed employees plus those who will have to work without pay could reach as high as 800,000.

What'd they say about the IRS? You read that right: The IRS will have to furlough most of its employees ... and with less than a month before tax season begins.

Alistair Nevius, J.D., editor-in-chief of tax for the Journal of Accountancy, writes that the IRS has put into place a contingency plan for how the agency will operate in the event of a shutdown. The plan covers a shutdown of just five days, after which a new plan would have to be put in place.

The good news: The plan does not anticipate that preparations for tax season will be impacted.

The bad news: All but 10,000 of the IRS's nearly 80,000 employees would be furloughed during a shutdown.

Read Nevius's examination of the shutdown's impact on the IRS in its entirety.

More shutdown news Here are more resources that take a deeper dive into the shutdown's impact:


Bill Sheridan