Tax attorneys and other tax professionals plan their work days around their interactions with the IRS. So, when the IRS is closed on a weekday, they take note.
Earlier this year the IRS had announced a series of planned nationwide furlough days to help with its “bottom line,” one of them to take place on Monday, July 22nd. Then a couple days ago the acting IRS Commissioner, Daniel Werfel, announced by way of internal memorandum that the agency would no longer be forcing its employees to take that day off. The furlough scheduled for July 22nd was lifted. However, realizing that many IRS personnel have already made plans for a three-day weekend, Werfel is allowing anyone to still take the day off if they want.
So what does this mean for tax professionals who need to contact the IRS on July 22nd? What can we expect?
In my years of working in the field of tax controversy, I have come to realize the impossibility of trying to predict too much when it comes to the IRS. But my guess is that Monday is not going to be the best day to call them. Given the opportunity to take a 3-day weekend with pay, what IRS employee would come in and work (besides may the overzealous brown noser or somebody too dim to realize he doesn’t have to be there)?! I think the IRS is going to be severely understaffed, probably to the point that it would be no different than a furlough day from taxpayers’ point of view. And those that do go in to work on the 22nd are going to be stressed and unhelpful. It’s probably best to wait until Wednesday or Thursday if you need to call the IRS next week.
I have noticed that one of the consequences of the furlough days thus far has been a sharp increase in hold times when trying to call into the IRS. People that don’t get through on a furlough Monday tend to call back on Tuesday, and then Wednesday, etc. The calls pile up just like all their other work. These days it is not unusual to wait 45-60 minutes before the IRS picks up you call.