The Internal Revenue Service is canceling the two days of unpaid employee furloughs it had planned in response to budget cuts.
IRS commissioner John Kosknen informed IRS employees that they would not have to worry about the furloughs in a message Wednesday. “Thanks to your efforts to contain costs and other steps taken during the past three months, I am pleased to announce the IRS will not need to shut down later in the year,” he wrote.
He noted, however, that the IRS had to take some difficult steps to absorb the severe cuts to its budget. “Throughout the process, we tried to balance cuts and protect critical areas as much as possible,” wrote Koskinen. “Reductions were so deep that there were concerns we might have to close the IRS for two days later this year. We always viewed this as a last resort, and we agreed to do everything we could to avoid a shutdown.”
Earlier this year, Koskinen said budget cuts could force the IRS to shut down for two days as a last resort to reduce costs.
On Wednesday, Koskinen announced that furloughs will not be necessary because the IRS has made other cuts and adjustments to deal with budget reductions.
Koskinen noted that preventing a shutdown was a high priority for both the National Treasury Employees Union and the IRS and he thanked NTEU president Colleen Kelley and her team for their support as they worked through the issue.
“We are pleased that we were able to avoid this scenario—and the resulting disruptions for taxpayers, the tax community and IRS employees,” said Koskinen. “Given the budget cuts, the IRS has been working hard to make wise reductions and find additional areas for savings. A number of difficult decisions, such as putting in place a stricter hiring freeze than was already in place, has resulted in reduced costs.”