After weeks of harsh criticism over their admitted targeting of conservatives, the Internal Revenue Service is one of four government agencies purportedly forced to shut their doors today, Friday May 24. The agencies blame sequestration and “the current budget situation.”
A memo on the IRS’ website states that additional closures are planned for June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30, 2013.
“Due to the current budget situation, including the sequester, all IRS operations will be closed on those days. This means that all IRS offices, including all toll-free hotlines, the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the agency’s nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide, will be closed on those days. IRS employees will be furloughed without pay. No tax returns will be processed and no compliance-related activities will take place,” the IRS announcement reads. “…Taxpayers should continue to file their returns and pay any taxes due as usual.”
The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Management and Budget are also closed today, giving roughly 115,000 federal workers the day off, according to the Hill.
The Daily Caller notes: “Despite the tax agency’s claim, the IRS has not seen any actual budget cutting. The IRS budget request for 2013 came in at $12.8 billion, an increase of $944.5 million increase, or 8 percent, over its enacted 2012 budget. The service’s 2013 budget request [is] $13,358,007.”
Cynics might point out that, with most federal employees also getting Monday off for Memorial Day, the agencies have just given themselves an extra day on a long weekend. But they say this is the way to create the smallest negative impact, since many of the groups they work with are also on vacation.
Though President Obama proposed the sequester, he has loudly warned about the impacts of the cuts, claiming they put “our entire economy at risk.”