The IRS has reopened its Income Verification Express Service (IVES) program amidst the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. Many IRS operations have remained inactive since fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations for federal agencies lapsed on December 22, 2018.
IVES Program Reopened
The IRS’s IVES program is a user fee-based program, which enables mortgage lenders and others within the financial services community to confirm a loan applicant’s income. “It will take time to bring this service up to normal operating status,” the IRS said in a statement. “The IRS advises IVES participants that it may initially take longer than the standard 72-hour turnaround time for the IRS to process these requests.”
The delay in processing is largely because of the amount of requests that are backlogged since the partial government shutdown began last month, according to the IRS. Additionally, federal law limits what operations the IRS can perform during a funding lapse, the Service noted. “However, some programs funded by user fees present an opportunity for the IRS to help taxpayers receive critical services.”
IRS Employees Furloughed
Currently, the IRS has furloughed approximately 70,000 IRS employees, accounting for 87.5 percent of its workforce, according to House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass. However, the IRS is expected to bring back certain employees to help with the upcoming 2019 tax filing season, which is set to begin on January 28.
“The IRS also will start other user fee-based services such as providing a letter needed by some taxpayers to certify their residency in the United States for certain tax treaty benefits and responding to requests for photocopies of tax returns,” the IRS said. However, it may take up to 75 calendar days to process a request for a copy of a return, the IRS noted.