What a shutdown would mean for the Treasury Department

September 30, 2013

The Treasury Department would continue disbursements of Social Security funds, automated revenue collections and the work of daily cash management for the government, in addition to paying interest on the federal debt.

Treasury Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Robert Miller/The Washington Post).
Treasury Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Robert Miller/The Washington Post)

But the Internal Revenue Service, which is Treasury’s largest component, would cease some of its key functions, such as audits, examinations of returns, processing of paper returns and call-center operations for taxpayers with questions.

“It’s going to make it impossible for taxpayers to get the help they need,” National Treasury Employees Union president Colleen M. Kelley said during a conference call with reporters Friday.

Overall, the Treasury Department would place about 88 percent of its 101,000 employees on furlough. That includes about 90 percent of the IRS workforce.

About 8,800 of the IRS’s 95,000 employees would remain at work for “excepted” roles such as law enforcement — considered necessary to protect life and property — or because their positions are paid for by funds outside of congressional appropriations, among other reasons. Most headquarters and administrative employees would be furloughed, according to the agency’s contingency plan.

To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed or e-mail  josh.hicks@washpost.comFor more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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