The effects of the “government shutdown” have been far-reaching and I’m certain we will feel the effects for months to come, even if everything is switched back on soon.
In IRS world, even one day off tends to cause residual delays and bottle-necks. For example, when the IRS observes a national holiday and shuts down on a Friday or a Monday, the work tends to pile up, making it more difficult for taxpayers to get help for the following couple business days. This is especially true in the IRS call centers where they have little control over work flow. A salaried employee, such as an IRS revenue officer, can put in extra time before a day off so that work doesn’t pile up too much. But the work flow of an hourly call center employee is more dependent on the volume of inbound taxpayer phone calls.
The IRS always experiences high call volumes on Mondays and days following holidays because IRS problems don’t just go away on their own. If you can’t get through to the IRS on one day, you’ll probably try again as soon as possible. And I don’t feel like the IRS hold times have ever really recovered to what they once were before the IRS began furloughing employees earlier this year. But now we are talking about an unprecedented closure of several days in a row (and how many more, we do not know). I would not be surprised if the residual effects of the IRS shutdown are felt well into 2014.