Locals concerned about tax returns if IRS employees aren't showing up to work

The IRS offices in Huntsville and Florence are closed and will re-open once the shutdown ends.

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 5:00 PM
Updated: Jan 23, 2019 5:32 PM

The Federal Government has called back nearly 50,000 furloughed IRS workers now that tax season is here. WAAY 31 has learned hundreds are calling in sick. This has some people wondering if they'll get their tax refunds on time.

"I agree with what's happening. I agree with the shutdown, but I'm so sorry by everyone that's getting hurt by it," said Astryd Roy.

Astryd Roy is a small business owner in downtown Huntsville and now that tax season is approaching, she's concerned IRS employees are not showing up for work.

"I don't know if it's going to hinder my input or if it's going to hinder me getting taxes back," Roy said.

Other people said this is something they can't stress over.

"I'm doing my part. There's not much we can do other than move forward and file our taxes and hope the returns come through on a normal routine basis," said Jackie Ginsburg.

WAAY 31 called the IRS office in Florence and according to its machine, it is also closed. However, the machine states all tax deadlines remain in effect and people should file as normal.

IRS employees received a letter from the Department of Treasury on Tuesday, stating furloughed employees are not allowed to volunteer at work.

Last week, the Trump administration ordered 46,000 IRS workers, more than half the work force, back to their offices to process refunds without pay.

"If they have young kids and they're trying to go to work, and they can't afford to have someone to watch their children then they can't do daycare. It's a vicious circle. It affects everyone," Ginsburg said.

"I'm not going to work for free, so I'd never ask anyone to work for free either, but in this economy, when you have a job with full benefits, it would be silly to put that in jeopardy," Roy said.

WAAY 31 called and emailed the National Treasury Employees Union in Atlanta to find out how long employees plan to stay clocked out. We are still waiting to hear back. Union rules allow them to stay home if being furloughed is a hardship.

The White House insists tax refunds will be paid out, despite the shutdown.

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