SCHUMER REVEALS: NEW IRS PLAN FOR LI COULD CLOSE SUFFOLK OFFICE, WHILE UPENDING NASSAU WITH LONG LINES; PLAN SET TO BEGIN IN JUST MONTHS WITH LOSS OF 40 JOBS IN HAUPPAUGE; IRS ALREADY CLOSED RIVERHEAD OFFICE, NOW SENATOR DEMANDS FIRM COMMITMENT TO KEEP SUFFOLK SITE FULLY OPERATING & IN PLACE
Under Pressure To Save Money At All Costs, Internal Revenue Service Has Gone Back-And-Forth With Plan To Entirely Close Suffolk Site; But Schumer Worries, Latest Plan To Consolidate Offices & Operations Into Nassau Site Is Slow-Walk To Closure That Will Deliver Headache For Both Counties
Under Current Plan, Taxpayers Could Be Forced To Travel In Upwards Of 70 Miles To Meet With A Human Being In Nassau; Senator Says IRS Sudden Closure Of Riverhead Site Only Deepens Locals’ Concerns Who Depend On Local Center
Schumer To IRS: Don’t Tax Nassau At Expense Of Suffolk; Keep These Sites Separate & Open, For Good
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—once again—has their sights set on Long Island when it comes to a new plan that could close one of the only two offices on the entire Island. Schumer, today, revealed specific details of the plan and said it could hurt both Suffolk and Nassau counties. Schumer stood in Nassau, where he said long lines could form if a full closure in Suffolk actually does come to pass, as he made the case directly to the IRS to keep both Long Island offices open and operating for the long haul. Both the Nassau and Suffolk IRS offices see thousands of people going and coming each and every year.
“It simply boggles the mind to think that the IRS even weighed a closure of the whole Suffolk County office in the first place, and now it is disturbing to see that this very bad idea could simply be broken into drip-drip -drip phases – that deliver almost immediate job loss and taxpayer inconvenience,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “First the IRS closes Riverhead, now they are ‘consolidating’ and could very well close Hauppauge; we are talking about people having to drive 70, 80 miles for basic services and that is just ridiculous. So, my message to the IRS is a simple one: keep both the Nassau and Suffolk IRS offices open and fully operational because any and all plans to slow-walk a closure simply will not stand, and I will fight tooth and nail to prevent it from happening.”
Schumer explained, the plan to consolidate the Suffolk IRS office will take shape in just months and that it will result in 40 jobs leaving Hauppauge. Schumer further explained the confusion that occurred when the Riverhead IRS office closed and cited that experience as one of the reasons he is sounding the alarm today. Schumer demanded a firm commitment from the IRS to keep two IRS full-service offices on Long Island, one in Nassau and one in Suffolk, arguing that closing the Suffolk IRS office and forcing people to drive miles upon miles to Nassau would be burdensome.
Schumer detailed the most recent IRS plan for the Hauppauge operation by revealing that an original plan to close it entirely was first considered and listed on the IRS ‘Strategic Facility Plan.” However, this plan was revised in September 2017 and has now evolved into a two-phase plan that will take shape in a matter of months. The first phase, begin no later than mid-2019, will downsize the Hauppauge office and eliminate 42 jobs, taking the Suffolk staff from 128 to 86 employees. Those jobs will then be relocated to Nassau under the plan. According to the IRS, certain services taxpayers rely upon will remain in place until phase two of this consolidation takes effect in 2022 when the Hauppauge IRS office lease expires. Schumer said this lease expiration and its tie-in with phase two of the Long Island plan sets the stage for real worry that the Hauppauge office could completely close and demands more clarity and commitment from the IRS, especially when Riverhead is recounted.
“The surprise IRS closure in Riverhead began a lot like what is happening right now with Hauppauge,” said Schumer. “And no one on Long Island wants to see the sequel.”
“A closure of the Suffolk County IRS office in Hauppauge would be an unfair burden on Suffolk County residents, especially those living on the east end,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “If the Suffolk office were to close, east enders who already lost the Riverhead office years ago would be forced to travel over 70 miles one way just to sit down with an agent. I applaud Senator Schumer for standing up for Suffolk taxpayers and pushing back on the IRS’ retreat from Suffolk County.”
In January 2012, the IRS consolidated their Riverhead office with Hauppauge, which resulted in the complete closure of Riverhead. According to Newsday, prior to this closure, the IRS had chosen to relocate the Riverhead office into a complex on East Main Street. The IRS then abruptly shifted gears and simply closed the Riverhead office entirely after 30 years of operation. Schumer warned today that the impetuous history of the IRS on Long Island is a reason to sound the alarm today and demand a solid commitment from the feds as to the future of both Long Island IRS operations.
Schumer said both Long Island IRS offices provide citizens with tax return assistance, audit help, and even assist folks who are owed money by the federal government. Schumer made the case today to keep both of these offices open and operating, expressing serious concern with a two-part plan that consolidates the Suffolk office with Nassau, saying it is murky, at best. Schumer said and locals are concerned about what the future holds for the Suffolk office, the 86 employees who will remain headquartered there and the thousands of taxpayers who go in and out of the offices each and every month.
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