Shutdown Stories: The IRS and Early Filers

Our Shutdown Stories series, which began as a series of public Facebook posts, is focused on providing factual, evidenced based information about the effects of shutting down particular Federal Government agencies. We are moving it here to our corporate blog, in an effort to increase readability and make it easier to share these complex issues. Please feel free to share on the platform of your choosing, with attribution to The War Room Group. 

The IRS is a Ghost Town

(Originially Published on Facebook 1/4/2019)

The partial shutdown wraps up it’s second full week with a bill being introduced in the senate to lock-in back pay for Federal Workers. With no real end in sight, we have yet to get close enough to the light at the end of the tunnel to determine whether or not it is an oncoming train. By the S&P’s previous estimates this shutdown has now cost the US Economy $48 Billion dollars. 
So, friends and taxpayers, today’s shutdown story: The Internal Revenue Service. We all know what the IRS does, right? I don’t need to do a deep dive on the calculation, collection, and monitoring of individual and corporate taxes. Did you know that it takes a lot of people providing services to keep that running. From IT staff, to auditors, criminal investigators, call center reps answering taxpayer questions, accountants, actuaries, the list goes on. Do you know what they can’t do right now. Anything more than what is absolutely essential to keep the country afloat. 
Today is January 4, 2019. On January 31, 2019 most American taxpayers will begin to file their 2018 Tax Returns with the IRS. Do you see the issue I am seeing folks? That’s right. As of right now, there is no one at the IRS to process returns, or even answer taxpayer questions. Which means…Those return checks that so many American’s wait for ever year won’t come. To illustrate the impact of this: 
“For many Americans, the tax refund is the single largest financial event of the year, and the people who tend to file early in the season are taxpayers who count on large refunds to pay down debt, catch up on bills, or make major purchases. Those are disproportionately low-income households that benefit from the earned-income tax credit and other provisions that give them no income tax liability or a net benefit from the income tax system” (Richard Rubin, WSJ). 
To put it plainly, if this doesn’t end soon we will start to punish the poor faster, and more efficiently. This will ripple out faster than punishing the Federal workforce, and it will be devastatingly difficult to recover from.