IRS COVID-19 Update – Reopening Steps
In a message from IRS Commissioner dated June 3, 2020, the Commissioner communicated the next steps to reopening operations. The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) which represents IRS employees, issued a press release (see attachment) in response to the Commissioner’s message. The NTEU press release provides additional details not included in the Commissioner’s message, so we thought we would share the NTEU document with you.
The NTEU letter states in part,
After IRS employees in Utah, Texas and Kentucky started reporting back to their buildings this week, the next wave is scheduled to report June 15 in Michigan, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, which includes the large campuses in Atlanta and Kansas City.
Employees in California, Indiana, Ohio, Puerto Rico and Oregon, including the large campus in Fresno, are due to report on June 29. The IRS Commissioner announced the call backs to employees in a message Wednesday night.
Not all frontline workers in those states will be recalled. Employees who are currently teleworking will continue to do so, according to the IRS. And those who are considered a medical high risk also do not have to return to their work stations and will either continue to telework or remain on administrative leave. Finally, the IRS intends to limit the recalls so they can ensure proper physical distancing between employees in the workplace.
NTEU is awaiting information from the IRS about how many employees it intends to call back for each location and business division.
“We understand that the IRS has a backlog of important work that cannot be done remotely and they need to restart systems as soon as possible, but our concerns about the coronavirus pandemic have not changed,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Employees remain anxious about the risks posed by taking public transportation, being in enclosed facilities with hundreds of coworkers and whether their work stations will be consistently and properly cleaned and disinfected.”[End of NTEU excerpt.]
So while we anticipate the start of IRS communications to claims and return notices, the NTEU response indicates that delays will continue as the IRS moves towards full staffing levels.