By Ken Berry
The long Labor Day weekend just got a little shorter for IRS employees.
On August 7, the IRS issued a press release saying it will remain open for business on August 30, the last of five furlough days previously announced by the nation's tax collection agency. All IRS staffers will be on the job during their regular work hours. The IRS also canceled the fourth furlough day initially scheduled for July 22.
The IRS devised the plan to use unpaid furlough days for its employees after the federal sequester required government spending cuts earlier in the year. The mandate was a big blow to the agency, which had already seen its budget slashed by $1 billion over the last three years. However, it now appears that there's enough money in the coffers to avoid the fifth furlough day, at least for the time being.
"We have made substantial progress in cutting costs. . . . Our progress is such that we have decided to postpone the furlough day scheduled for August 30. We still have more work to do on the budget and cost-savings, so we will reevaluate in early September and make a final determination as to whether we will need another furlough day in September," said IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Daniel Werfel. The news was delivered in an internal memo.
During the previous three furlough days – May 24, June 14, and July 5 – all IRS offices were completely closed and staffers stayed home. Activities resumed the next business day without a hitch.