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IRS Says Sequester Won’t Delay Tax Refunds, May Mean Fewer Audits

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Here’s some welcome sequester news for a change:  The Internal Revenue Service says those across-the-board automatic spending cuts will not delay processing of individual income tax refunds, and may mean fewer audits.

The agency has warned its more than 100,000 employees to expect furloughs of one day per pay period -- but not until this summer, after tax filing season ends.

“At this point, we expect that every one of us would take no more than one furlough day per pay period…for a total of between five to seven furlough days,” IRS Commissioner Steven Miller wrote to staff in a memo obtained by ABC News.

Miller said the agency was already trying to cut expenses to mitigate the impact of the budget cuts, extending its hiring freeze, reducing travel and trainings and adjusting use of facilities and supplies.
But he said IRS would be unable to fully avoid cuts to employee pay, “our greatest expense.”

“We recognize how distracting and difficult this news may be,” he wrote, “but we know that you and your colleagues are dedicated public servants who will continue to deliver for the nation’s taxpayers.”

The IRS claims that most taxpayers who file electronically and request direct deposit will get refunds within three weeks.

However, once staff cut-backs begin to take hold, the collection agency says, taxpayers could experience delays on calls to help lines and visits to taxpayer assistance centers.  They will also face potentially fewer audits, with less staff to perform the reviews.

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