The title of this diary is a direct quote from the first part of the subject line from an e-mail from the IRS newswire, an e-mail service that I subscribe to. The four other dates are June 14th, July 5th, July 22nd, and August 30th. Looking at a calendar, you will notice that the 24th, the 5th, and the 30th are all dates that are the business days immediately preceding or following normal Federal holidays (Memorial day, the Fourth of July, and Labor day). The other two dates are simply a Friday and a Monday, although the 14th is Flag day.
Further details below the squiggle of death.
The complete subject line of the e-mail is "IRS To Be Closed May 24, Four Other Days Due to Budget and Sequester; Filing and Payment Deadlines Unchanged".
Due to the current budget situation, including the sequester, all IRS operations will be closed on those days. This means that all IRS offices, including all toll-free hotlines, the Taxpayer Advocate Service and the agency’s nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers nationwide, will be closed on those days. IRS employees will be furloughed without pay. No tax returns will be processed and no compliance-related activities will take place. The IRS noted that taxpayers should continue to file their returns and pay any taxes due as usual.Just don't expect to get any help from anyone if you have any questions on those particular days.
Of particular significance:
Taxpayers needing to contact the IRS about their returns or payments should be sure to take these furlough dates into account. In some instances, this may include taxpayers with returns or payments due soon after a furlough day, such as the June 17 deadline for taxpayers abroad and those making a second-quarter estimated tax payment as well as the Sept. 3 deadline for truckers filing a highway use tax return.(emphasis mine)
Translation: It might have been possible to pick worse dates, but we really wanted to ease the shock to the wallets of these employees by giving them a few extra long holiday weekends. Of course, they won't be able to afford to go anywhere, but such is life!
Some web-based online tools and phone-based automated services will continue to function on furlough days, while others will be shut down. Available services include Withholding Calculator, Order A Transcript, EITC Assistant, Interactive Tax Assistant, the PTIN system for tax professionals, Tele-Tax and the Online Look-up Tool for those needing to repay the first-time homebuyer credit. Services not available on those days include Where’s My Refund? and the Online Payment Agreement. Visit online tools on IRS.gov to learn more about these tools.Translation: If your questions can be answered by just going to our website, or by talking to a computer on the phone, which costs us far less than all these pesky people we employ, you'll be fine. If you need to talk to an actual person on those days, sorry, you're outta luck!
This, of course, comes at a time when the IRS has already cut its staff to the bone. And, with reduced staff, comes longer wait times on the phone, which makes callers even angrier, which cause even longer phone calls, which causes longer wait times, etc, etc, ad infinitum. It's a vicious circle that keeps getting bigger.
Perhaps somehow, somewhere, these furloughs will inconvenience a few Republican congresscritters, or, perhaps, more effectively, some of their more influential (i.e. wealthy) constituents. That seems to be the only thing that gets Congress off its collective ass to finally do something.
We can but hope.