IRS, three other federal agencies closed Friday due to sequestration

The Internal Revenue Service will be closed Friday because of sequestration, the agency said in a press release.

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The agency, which has been the center of a political firestorm surrounding its targeting of conservative political groups, will shutter offices across the nation, including nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers and the agency headquarters in Washington. IRS employees will be furloughed without pay.

Friday was the first of five days the agency is expected to close because of sequestration — it will also cease operations on June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30.

The agency said taxpayers should continue to file returns, and that the closures would not affect regular deadlines. But, the agency cautioned, the IRS will be unable to accept or acknowledge receipt of electronically filed returns on any day the agency is shut down.

Three other federal agencies will be closed Friday as well: the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Management and Budget. In total, some 115,000 federal workers will have an unpaid vacation day in the largest closing of government offices since the shutdown in the 1990s.

The furloughs were the result of the $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts known as the sequester, which kicked in after Congress was unable to come to agreement on a deficit reduction plan.

At a speech last weekend in Atlanta, President Obama warned that because of the cuts, "growth may end up slowing and we may start seeing once again the job market stall."