IRS warns of possible shutdown

IRS warns of possible shutdown

By Rachael Bade 12/18/14 3:30 PM EST

The IRS is considering its own temporary shutdown due to recent budget cuts enacted by Congress, its chief said Thursday.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said furloughs — forced unpaid days off for employees as part of an IRS closure — is one idea reluctantly being tossed about to save money, though they are hoping they will not have to go there.

“There is no way we can say right now that that won’t happen,” Koskinen told reporters at a press conference on the upcoming tax season. “Again, I would stress that would be the last option.”

He said a one-day closure would save an estimated $29 million.

The news comes a day after Koskinen warned IRS employees that overtime would be suspended and a hiring freeze enacted.

Koskinen took over the agency after it faced big criticism following the controversy over added scrutiny given to tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans, never a fan of the IRS, have sought to cut its budget further ever since.

In the recent budget deal, Congress cut the IRS budget by $ 346 million to $10.9 billion, making it nearly a billion down from several years back.

The agency was one of the only agencies that was reduced — despite the storm of a tax season looming on the horizon. The IRS will be implementing ObamaCare tax credits and penalties for the first time, among other new responsibilities.

Koskinen also said more tough news would likely follow as IRS leadership negotiates with the National Treasury Employees Union, particularly because personnel costs comprise about 75 percent of the IRS costs.

Koskinen said the IRS budget reductions are actually another $200 million more than what Congress cut because they had to give employee pay raises.



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