IRS employees face between five and seven furlough days between May and September because of sequester-related budget cuts, according to an email from acting Commissioner Steve Miller.
The furloughs will occur on May 24, June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30, “with another two days possible in August and September,” Miller wrote.
On those dates, “all public-facing operations” will close, including toll-free help lines and taxpayer assistance centers.
“Everyone is covered by this furlough, and that means everyone from the acting commissioner and executives to managers and employees,” Miller said.
While some information technology and security staff may need to work on furlough days to maintain systems and protect buildings, they will have to take unpaid time off on other days within those pay periods, according to the Friday email.
The IRS had about 89,300 employees in December, the most recent figures available.
Across-the-board sequester cuts and rescissions are causing the agency to suffer a budget cut this year of more than $600 million, Miller told a House Appropriations subcommittee earlier this month.
In scheduling the furloughs, the IRS sought to cushion the financial impact on employees both by making sure there was only one furlough day per pay period and by leaving some parts of the summer furlough-free, Miller said in the email.
Formal 30-day notices are to go out to the entire workforce Monday, according to the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents many IRS staff. The agency intentionally postponed furloughs until after the April 15 tax filing deadline. Nevertheless, there continues to be “considerable tax-filing” going on year-round by small businesses, estates and others, NTEU President Colleen Kelley said in a news release.
“Like all federal employees, those at the IRS are well into the third year of a pay freeze,” Kelley said. “And now they face the unwelcome prospect of a pay cut resulting from unpaid furlough days.”