IRS functions closed in shutdown are those that are not vital to National Security or anything that would endanger the life or safety of any individual. Funding for many government agencies has expired due to the protracted fight between President Trump and Congress, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. The IRS is affected by the shutdown because it is not already funded through September of 2019 like several other government agencies are. Temporary funding for the IRS was enacted in the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018, and extended up to December 22nd by P.L. 115-90. Congressional Negotiators are currently working on a continuing spending resolution that would fund the federal government through February 8th.
In anticipation of a lapse in funding, Treasury in late November issued a fiscal year 2019 “Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan”, that governs what will happen at the IRS during a government shutdown–but only through December 31st. If the government shutdown continues into 2019, a new plan will have to be formulated. The plan covers only a five day shutdown. If a shutdown lasts longer than five business days, the IRS human capital officer will reassess ongoing activities and identify necessary adjustments of expected positions and personnel. IRS functions closed in shutdown are spelled out in detail.
The plan identifies 9.946 IRS employees as “excepted/exempt” employees who would not be furloughed. The rest of the IRS’s 79,868 employees would be furloughed, meaning they will be put on leave of absence without pay, under 5 C.F. R. Section 752.402 Certain IRS activities will continue during a shutdown, including activities already funded outside of the Continuing Appropriations Act and activities necessary for safety of human life or protection of government property. These activities include continuing to complete and test upcoming filing year programs: processing electronic returns, up to the point of refund, and maintaining criminal law enforcement operations.