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Internal Revenue Service

As a bureau of the Department of the Treasury and as one of the world's most efficient tax administrators, the IRS role is to help the large majority of compliant taxpayers with the tax law, while ensuring that the minority who are unwilling to comply pay their fair share. (Source: www.irs.gov)

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dmellow  
#241 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 4:50:48 PM(UTC)

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I figured once we got back into pay status we would have lots of overtime. It never occurred to me that some people are working overtime now for no pay, according to NTEU in this article. Unbelievable. At least with our overtime it is optional.

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18,647 views Jan 7, 2019, 09:05pm

Unions File Lawsuits As IRS, Other Federal Employees Ordered Back To Work Without Pay

BLOOMBERG NEWS
The IRS has announced that employees will open tax season on time—and issue tax refunds—despite a government shutdown. But don’t plan on spending those tax refund dollars just yet: The National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) filed a lawsuit alleging the administration is violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by requiring federal employees to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

The complaint, which was filed in the United States of Federal Claims, is a collective action lawsuit brought by Albert Vieira on behalf of himself and all similarly situated individuals. Vieira is a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer.

The FLSA, which was signed into law in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, sets standards for workers in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. Those standards include the establishment of a federal minimum wage and rules about overtime pay eligibility.

The lawsuit alleges that the FLSA guarantees on-time payment of any minimum wage and overtime wages earned for covered employees. If wages are earned, but not paid out, on the employee’s corresponding regularly scheduled payday, the FLSA has been violated. According to the NTEU, the FLSA’s timely payment requirement persists even during a lapse in appropriated funds like the government shutdown.

The lawsuit also claims that the FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the minimum wage for all hours worked during the workweek.

NTEU is asking the court to order the government to pay compensation for these employees plus 100% liquidated damages. The government has been responsible for paying liquidated damages before for failure to timely pay FLSA wages during a government shutdown as determined in Martin v. United States, 130 Fed. Cl. 578 (2017). In Martin, the court found that the federal government failed to comply with FLSA obligations in connection with the payment of nonexempt, excepted employees during a government shutdown.

Additionally, the Department of Labor has issued guidance confirming that in general, an employer must pay covered non-exempt employees the full minimum wage and any statutory overtime due on the regularly scheduled pay day for the workweek in question. Failure to do so constitutes a violation of the FLSA.” You can read the guidance here:

DOL Wage and Income Division
Fact Sheet #70 (PDF, TEXT) — Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Furloughs and Other Reductions in Pay and Hours Worked Issues

Since the shutdown began, Vieira and workers like him who have not been exempted from the shutdown have been required to show up for work but have not received a paycheck.

“It is unconscionable that many employees are having to work—and in some cases overtime—with no pay whatsoever,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.

The number of employees heading back to work without pay is about to grow. The IRS will recall a “significant portion of its workforce, currently furloughed as part of the government shutdown, to work.” Those employees will not be paid until the shutdown is resolved.

The IRS, like the CBP, is represented by the NTEU. The NTEU represents 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments including the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Federal Election Commission, National Park Service, Patent and Trademark Office, Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Another labor union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), has also filed suit over unpaid wages. The AFGE is the largest federal employee union representing 700,000 federal and D.C. government workers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice.

Currently, about 380,000 federal employees are furloughed, while 420,000 are working without pay due to the shutdown.
oldindigo  
#242 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 5:10:30 PM(UTC)
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So when we finally get paid for cal 2018 PP26 it will be within ty2019. Which year will the withholding and deductions be applicable to? Will our state withholding be adjusted for ty18 or ty19? Will the ETC rules be relaxed because of this massive cluster? Is NFC shut down too? When will we get our 'final' W-2 for ty18? When will we be able to file our returns? It's bad enough with all the changes and the uncertainty about a refund or a balance this year even having run the WH Calc. Everyone says 'government shutdown' like the whole thing is shut down, that is so misleading. Either open it all up, or shut it all down.

Edited by user Tuesday, January 8, 2019 5:12:19 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

kitkatma  
#243 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 5:41:25 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: oldindigo Go to Quoted Post
So when we finally get paid for cal 2018 PP26 it will be within ty2019. Which year will the withholding and deductions be applicable to? Will our state withholding be adjusted for ty18 or ty19? Will the ETC rules be relaxed because of this massive cluster? Is NFC shut down too? When will we get our 'final' W-2 for ty18? When will we be able to file our returns? It's bad enough with all the changes and the uncertainty about a refund or a balance this year even having run the WH Calc. Everyone says 'government shutdown' like the whole thing is shut down, that is so misleading. Either open it all up, or shut it all down.


PP26 has always been paid in the next year, that's the paycheck we would be getting this Friday/Monday and the deductions start over with this check, always have.

Filing season starts on Jan 28th, W-2's are required by law to be issued by Jan 31st and those of us in AM know that "missing W2" letters can't be sent prior to Feb 15th.
Michelle10  
#244 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 6:59:12 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NicNell Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Red Go to Quoted Post
So True! They pander to these people and are afraid to delay their handouts because they know the "entitled class" will raise hell if they don't get their checks. So they cave in to them, but forget about us.


It’s going to be extremely difficult to sympathize with the people who are checking on their $8000+ refunds when I have no idea when I’ll be paid next.


Right? If I'm
wondering when I'll get my paycheck, how empathetic will I be when someone's demanding their refund?
Michelle10  
#245 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:06:41 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: LieutenantBlantyre Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: dmellow Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: LieutenantBlantyre Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Michelle10 Go to Quoted Post
Apparently, there could be negative consequences if IRS issues refunds during a shutdown. From the Washington Post article:

"Treasury has looked at this time and again and decided these payments aren’t going to be made,” Berger said. “Suddenly there is a potlitical concern. There’s no legal justification. It’s a political decision.”

Berger said the decision could be found to violate the Anti-Deficiency Act, which could carry fines or even criminal penalties.


If we open on 1/28 (Day 28), 21 days would put us at 2/18 (day 49). If we don't have appropriations by then we'll have hit a new record. There probably would've been a march on DC by that point by disgruntled civil servants, too.

Since none of us have our handy cycle calendars, this item from NOAA will do in a pinch: https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/neubrew/Calendar.jsp

I am really not happy about the union trying to get pay through the backdoor via lawsuit in the US Court of Federal Claims by filing a class action to create a financial claim on the Judgment Fund which has a permanent appropriation. It may be barely legal but certainly unseemly. Making appropriations via lawsuits just creates a conflict for me understanding matters. That's not how our country is supposed to operate.


It sounds like the union is saying to the court that it's not legal to have people working and not getting paid. I want to get paid if we are called into work. I don't care how it is appropriated. The president wants us to go back to work because he is concerned about the people getting mad about their refunds. There is no concern about us getting paid, it's just about us going back to work. This shutdown can go on for a long time. Once we are back at work being productive, the incentive to worry about us getting paid is greatly reduced. We are being told that "we will adjust". What a slap in the face!

This filing season was going to be rough anyway because of the delay in training on the new tax law and new forms. We still have to deal with refund holds, returns going thru tpp and exams, missing refunds, etc. Even though I can hold out financially for a while, I don't like not getting paid when working or on furlough.


The reason to worry about the money coming from the right place is so that we don't suffer recovery actions later. This is all sketchy in fairly gray areas. I don't want to wind up with some public interest law group causing trouble. We've been plagued with that since day one with Trump.

It isn't that I mind being paid. I want clean & clear right to the money, though. What both AFGE & NTEU are trying doesn't produce


Turns out that issuing a refund during shutdown is legal. I read something earlier today that stated IRS has always believed they could issue refunds during s ashutdown but OMB advised them not to. Can't remember where I saw it.
kitkatma  
#246 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:34:50 PM(UTC)
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On the IRS website, it lists the law that allows for refunds during a shutdown. Tax refunds don't come from appropriations much like a SSA checks.

I suspect that a majority of us will be getting calls next week to report for work. Now, I for one would like my pay for that work and on time, but chances are that isn't going to happen. I believe the union has a point in their lawsuit, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to pay their employees.
Icehcky13  
#247 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:50:14 PM(UTC)
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When do all think AM csrs will be called back to work? Do you see it being this week or next? I’m honestly not going to be happy going into work and not getting paid on time. I
Jimmy81  
#248 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 8:25:21 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: kitkatma Go to Quoted Post
On the IRS website, it lists the law that allows for refunds during a shutdown. Tax refunds don't come from appropriations much like a SSA checks.

I suspect that a majority of us will be getting calls next week to report for work. Now, I for one would like my pay for that work and on time, but chances are that isn't going to happen. I believe the union has a point in their lawsuit, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to pay their employees.


The money for the refunds is available as you said. However, requiring non-excepted IRS personnel to process the refunds is a violation of the Anti-deficiency Act. Basically, the law states agencies can't incur expenses that are beyond what is necessary to protect their assets during a shutdown. Clearly, issuing refunds is not an activity the IRS needs to do to protect its assets.

I had my differences with Koskinen but there is no way he would have committed the IRS to potentially break the law with no guarantees of its employees even getting paid. I hope the NTEU goes beyond filing lawsuits.
....  
#249 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 9:11:50 PM(UTC)
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I am a Commerce employee. I have been reading this thread with great interest. And now, angry that you guys are being called in for what is essentially political Kabuki theater. I am furloughed and at home. My two cents says that this is indeed a violation of the Antideficiency Act. I hope the union gets some traction here and either gets you paid or gets this nonsense put on hold until we are all back at work, doing our jobs. Good luck
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Michelle10 on 1/9/2019(UTC)
LieutenantBlantyre  
#250 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 9:17:48 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Icehcky13 Go to Quoted Post
When do all think AM csrs will be called back to work? Do you see it being this week or next? I’m honestly not going to be happy going into work and not getting paid on time. I


This is Week 1 of a pay period. We'd probably head back in next week if we did things sensibly. Then again, whenever have we done that?

Originally Posted by: Jimmy81 Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: kitkatma Go to Quoted Post
On the IRS website, it lists the law that allows for refunds during a shutdown. Tax refunds don't come from appropriations much like a SSA checks.

I suspect that a majority of us will be getting calls next week to report for work. Now, I for one would like my pay for that work and on time, but chances are that isn't going to happen. I believe the union has a point in their lawsuit, it is illegal for an employer to refuse to pay their employees.


The money for the refunds is available as you said. However, requiring non-excepted IRS personnel to process the refunds is a violation of the Anti-deficiency Act. Basically, the law states agencies can't incur expenses that are beyond what is necessary to protect their assets during a shutdown. Clearly, issuing refunds is not an activity the IRS needs to do to protect its assets.

I had my differences with Koskinen but there is no way he would have committed the IRS to potentially break the law with no guarantees of its employees even getting paid. I hope the NTEU goes beyond filing lawsuits.


Who says NTEU hasn't looked at this? Apparently calls are being made by somebody. I suppose we'll learn more as time goes by.

Originally Posted by: somewhat a nerd Go to Quoted Post
I am a Commerce employee. I have been reading this thread with great interest. And now, angry that you guys are being called in for what is essentially political Kabuki theater. I am furloughed and at home. My two cents says that this is indeed a violation of the Antideficiency Act. I hope the union gets some traction here and either gets you paid or gets this nonsense put on hold until we are all back at work, doing our jobs. Good luck


Aren't we very nice, happy, loyal troopers?
long strange trip  
#251 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 10:38:57 PM(UTC)
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So here we are. We have all read this thread. WE may be called back to work without pay which may or may not be legal. IRS will issue refunds which may or may not be legal. sigh. Unemployment differs state by state. So, for all my Brookhaven friends and Buffalo too. BE AWARE if you are collecting unemployment, according to the NYS DOL website - specifically for furloughed feds:

""Information for furloughed federal workers
Q: I am required to work in my federal position but I am not getting paid. Am I still eligible?
A: No. A federal employee who is called back to work is considered employed and not available for other employment.""

So if we are called back to work without pay we can not collect Unemployment. Have plan B ready. maybe TSP loan

And.. remember last week when our boss tweeted "just sit back and enjoy the ride" huh?

Hired 2015  
#252 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 8:38:21 AM(UTC)
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Unemployment process in my state to process federal worker claims have a snag. They are now saying to expect 3-5 weeks delay in processing due to staff and resource limits.
chriswt25  
#253 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 9:39:44 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Hired 2015 Go to Quoted Post
Unemployment process in my state to process federal worker claims have a snag. They are now saying to expect 3-5 weeks delay in processing due to staff and resource limits.


Every time I got Unemployment from regular"lack of work" furloughs, there was a minimum 3 week wait before I ever got a check. At least in my state

Sout29  
#254 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 9:42:18 AM(UTC)
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I haven’t thought about it before.. but is there a problem with many employees not returning after an extended shutdown? Especially at the service center? The private sector job market is pretty good right now and I also would think tax preparation and bookkeeping firms would be clamoring to lure some people out of the IRS they wouldn’t have to train.
jaylakent  
#255 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:10:31 PM(UTC)
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Has anyone heard any updates? I thought there were talks of funding the Treasury? I can't believe they are making people go in to process refunds. Does anyone think this will go on longer than the end of January? I'm so stressed out right now! :(
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Hired 2015 on 1/9/2019(UTC)
LieutenantBlantyre  
#256 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:20:42 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: jaylakent Go to Quoted Post
Has anyone heard any updates? I thought there were talks of funding the Treasury? I can't believe they are making people go in to process refunds. Does anyone think this will go on longer than the end of January? I'm so stressed out right now! :(


Currently the debate on H.R. 264, the latest attempt at passing appropriations under the "Financial Services & General Government" which covers us, finished debate. There was a Republican motion to recommit to try to increase funding for the anti-terror office in Treasury which didn't pass on a voice vote and the proponent demanded a recorded vote. That has been postponed until later today along with a potential vote on final passage. It is expected that the Senate will not take up the bill. I just took a peek at the Senate floor webcast and nobody is speaking in the Senate right now.

As to how long this goes on, I leave that to the bookmakers in Las Vegas. Contact them if you want to place a bet or check on the odds. I have no clue.

As to the stress, avoid booze & drugs but do try to relax. Go to your public library, raid their DVD collection, and have a film festival at home if you can. I didn't get to see Infinity War in theaters but I think my hold request on the DVD came in at the library. I gotta go pick that up. I've had the chance to watch Black Panther finally and some weird arthouse films like Frankie Go Boom.

It is snowing a wee bit outside to where I don't want to go out but there's not enough on the ground YET to fire up the snowblower. That is expected later tonight into tomorrow morning.

Edited by user Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:22:03 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Understated the snow situation.

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jaylakent on 1/9/2019(UTC)
chriswt25  
#257 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:27:22 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Sout29 Go to Quoted Post
I haven’t thought about it before.. but is there a problem with many employees not returning after an extended shutdown? Especially at the service center? The private sector job market is pretty good right now and I also would think tax preparation and bookkeeping firms would be clamoring to lure some people out of the IRS they wouldn’t have to train.


There has been an exodus from the Service Centers over the last few years, due to the nature of the job and because of the policies that are in place to run them. People's morale has been driven to an extreme low point. It has gotten so that people have transferred to other positions when they come up, even when it involves dropping from a GS 8 to a lower GS level just to get out of there.

I am sure if they compiled the data on how many people have left the centers for either another position out of AM, or just threw in the towel out of frustration and went to the private sector, they would see a much greater turnover of people then there was even 5 years ago. The problem is the management just does not care if people leave. Heck of a way to run a business, even one in the Federal Gov't.

I agree with you. The outcome of this shutdown will probably result in more people just saying adios, and the people that stay will just feel beaten down more than ever.
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Hired 2015 on 1/9/2019(UTC)
PrimaDawna  
#258 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:39:58 PM(UTC)
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I applied two months ago and have an interview with the state Friday for a position in the state revenue dpt. The starting pay is about 5k less but, probation only lasts 6 months and salary increases are every 6 months too. None phone job, 8am to 4:30. Wish me luck!
chriswt25  
#259 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:45:32 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: PrimaDawna Go to Quoted Post
I applied two months ago and have an interview with the state Friday for a position in the state revenue dpt. The starting pay is about 5k less but, probation only lasts 6 months and salary increases are every 6 months too. None phone job, 8am to 4:30. Wish me luck!


Good luck. Definitely sounds less stressful. NO PHONES.
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PrimaDawna on 1/9/2019(UTC)
Hired 2015  
#260 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:45:59 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: jaylakent Go to Quoted Post
Has anyone heard any updates? I thought there were talks of funding the Treasury? I can't believe they are making people go in to process refunds. Does anyone think this will go on longer than the end of January? I'm so stressed out right now! :(


Feeling stressed out myself over not knowing when/if we will return to work to plan. I am a CSR at a call site that doesn't process returns so I'm nervous we won't be called back soon or as a seasonal we might get an early furlough. I've been getting up every morning on time for work, going through the motions and filling my time with projects.

Applied for unemployment to fill the time. Its a shame we don't have access to our resources at work. There is lots of reading I would like to do.







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