The US government partial shutdown, which today begins its second month, has not only impacted the lives of hundreds of employees at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but it is about to become a headache for taxpayers facing the upcoming tax-filing season.
Lorna Nadal, Chapter 193 President of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) described the critical picture of IRS employees who have not been able to go to work due to the difficult economic situation that they are going through.
Nadal told El Nuevo Día that everything is currently interrupted and that they have been called to return to work without pay, but “almost nobody went because they did not have money, so everybody was furloughed.”
“Tomorrow (today) we are supposed to go back to work but I don´t think that many people will show,” she added.
Nadal regretted that in the United States employees are receiving food and gas but that is not the case in Puerto Rico.
According to Nadal, at this time of year, IRS employees on the island are supposed to start with the tax-filing season, as well as receiving calls from taxpayers who request transcripts, debt verification, ask about payment plans or problems due to identity theft, among others.
The Union President said that everything is interrupted and noted that in Puerto Rico not only federal and military employees submit tax returns but also island residents who are self-employed, who now “cannot make their quarterly payments.”
She said that since this is a busy period, people will feel an impact due to the partial shutdown.
Several U.S. media anticipate serious consequences in the tax-filing process that they consider will bring delays to tax returns.
Meanwhile, the nightmare does not seem to end for employees.
Nadal said that everything is altered. “People cannot pay for care. The process to request unemployment benefit has been difficult and nobody has received payments, and that appointments for PAN (Nutrition Assistance Program) have been postponed to February. People are desperate.”
“While I am furloughed I am being called to go back to work. This is the longest shutdown in history and I have no words to describe how much this annoys me. It's frustrating and demoralizing,” she concluded.