More than half of the furloughed IRS employees who had been called back to work during the government shutdown to handle tax returns and taxpayer questions did not return as of Tuesday, according to reports from Politico and others, citing congressional aides.
The Trump administration had ordered thousands of IRS employees to return to work, without pay, as part of an effort to minimize damage from the ongoing shutdown. Only about 12,000 of 26,000 employees recalled have come to work, while around 5,000 have sought a hardship exemption to be absent from work, as permitted under their union contract. Another 9,000 could not be reached by IRS managers, agency officials told members of Congress, the Associated Press reports.
The IRS also reported that it is losing 25 information technology staffers a week since the start of the shutdown, with many finding other jobs, Politico said. Monday marks the official start of tax filing season.