Federal Manager's Daily Report

Because of the partial government shutdown just ahead of the annual tax filing season, “taxpayers were unable to obtain customer service assistance, a backlog of paper tax returns and taxpayer correspondence developed, and hiring and training of toll-free line customer service representatives was delayed,” an IG report has said.

Impacts included the need to reschedule more than 16,500 appointments with taxpayers that had to be delayed; rejection of some 3.8 million calls as the customer service line went unstaffed; delays in processing some 5 million forms, correspondence, payments and other documents received during the shutdown; and delays in hiring and training of new employees in customer service and other positions.

Further, because of the timing of the shutdown—from late December through late January—the agency was not able to follow its usual practice of shifting customer service representatives to working to reduce the correspondence inventory just ahead of the filing season and then moving them back to the phone lines once the season begins.

The shutdown further complicated an already challenging tax season that includes the impact a late-2017 law that represented the most thorough rewrite of the tax code in 30 years, the report added.