This week, the Democrats took over the United States House of Representatives and elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. One of first item of business was to pass a federal bill which funded nine of the shuttered agencies which did not include any funding for President Trump’s border wall. The Senate will allow the funding bill to languish in limbo and will not take action on the House bill. Currently, the shutdown has hit 14 days with no real solution in sight. The President and leaders of both the House and the Senate a will be meeting in a couple of days to see if there is any movement towards a solution.
The impact is being felt throughout the country regarding employers and employees. The Treasury Department is one area that is shut down which means the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not processing refunds. The message from the IRS is the tax payments are still due, payments need to be submitted and they are not remitting refunds at this time. It is unclear at this time if the Department is accepting returns or confirming receipt of annual or quarterly returns.
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also impacted by the government shutdown and have put out a notice that the E-Verify system is not active at this time. E-Verify is the system which compares information from an employee’s Form I-9 to the DHS and Social Security Administration (SSA) records to confirm employment eligibility. During the shutdown, employers will not be able to enroll in E-Verify, initiate queries, access cases or resolve tentative non-confirmations with affected workers. While employers are not able to access the system, all employers remain subject to the Form I-9 obligations; however, employers will not be penalized as a result of the E-Verify operations shutdown.