Of the more than 30,000 Internal Revenue Service employees the Trump administration called back to work this week, at least 14,000 didn’t show up, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
About 26,000 of those federal employees work in the IRS division that includes tax processing and call centers, and according to The Post, “about 9,000 workers could not be reached and about 5,000 more claimed a hardship exemption”.
IRS officials reported the numbers to Congress this week.
These numbers are as of Tuesday, according to the House aides, and the rate of employees returning to work may have changed since then. The IRS announced on Jan. 15 it would begin calling back workers as fears mounted about the IRS’s ability to process tax returns.
The shutdown appears to be affecting the IRS. In the call centers, which answer taxpayer questions over the phone, only about 35 percent of calls are being answered, IRS officials told congressional staff, according to one of the aides. The initial plan for filing season was for 80 percent of calls to be answered. The average call time, of 7 to 10 minutes last filing season, has jumped to 25 to 40 minutes.
The IRS is also losing 25 IT staffers every week since the shutdown began, with many finding other jobs, one House aide said, citing the IRS officials' briefing.
Many IRS employees have complained they cannot afford to get to work or cover child care expenses.