Should the government shutdown still be in effect on Jan. 28 when tax filing season begins, the Internal Revenue Service will recall 46,000 furloughed employees, nearly 60 percent of the workforce, to handle tax returns and refunds.
The employees will not be paid. Last week, the Trump administration said it would go against precedent and still process tax refunds, despite the shutdown. The IRS on Tuesday said refund money will be drawn from a "permanent, indefinite refund appropriation" that can be accessed even in the midst of a shutdown, Politico reports.
The IRS will not be conducting audits or accepting applications by organizations for tax-exempt status, and a limited number of employees will be available to answer telephones. Tony Reardon, head of the National Treasury Employees Union, told Politico he is concerned that highly trained IRS employees who are forced to work without pay will leave the agency. "Who will replace these employees after seeing how poorly they are treated by the federal government as their employer?" he asked.