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Top Impacts of the US Government Shutdown

Top Impacts of the US Government Shutdown -- The partial government shutdown is taking its toll on federal employees who have been temporarily laid off or forced to work without pay as well as for Canadians engaged in trade with their southern neighbor.

More than 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed – or
temporarily laid off or work without pay – since the shutdown began. The
prolonged dispute is primarily focused on the president’s demand for billions
of dollars to fund his controversial election promise of building a wall along
the U.S. border with Mexico.

A shutdown complicates work for agencies like the IRS ahead
of tax season, as well as Customs and the Border Patrol amid trade and
immigration issues. The following are the impacts of the US Government
Shutdown:

National Parks

The partial shutdown has impacted a number of U.S.
government departments including Homeland Security, Justice, Housing,
Agriculture, Commerce, and the Treasury. The U.S. National Park Service has
suspended all activities – except for those that are essential to responding to
emergencies – for the duration of the shutdown. That means that services such
as open public washrooms, garbage collection, road maintenance, and information
centers have ceased.

Limited IRS availability

The IRS will not be available to answer taxpayer questions
about their tax liabilities. That includes small businesses. Moreover, the IRS
will not issue refunds, process 1040X amended returns or conduct audits.
Operations that will continue during a shutdown include criminal law
enforcement actions, processing electronic returns up to the point of refund
and processing paper returns by "batching." However, don't expect any
clarification on your tax questions or to receive your refund until the government
shutdown ends.

Scientific Research

Of the 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working
without pay, thousands are researchers. These include agency scientists at the
Agriculture Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science
Foundation and the U.S. Geological Survey

Scientists, too, have felt the effects of the partial
shutdown. In numerous tweets, researchers employed by the federal government
have complained about how they have been barred from labs and grant funding for
their projects could be jeopardized if timelines are delayed.

Justice Department

Many attorneys and judges at the Department of Justice are
not working and cases are waiting. Justice Department employees involved in
criminal investigations and prosecution are among those working without a
paycheck.

The shutdown delays almost all federal civil cases,
including discrimination cases, whistleblower cases, disciplinary cases, and
retaliation actions were taken against federal employees. It further backlogs
thousands of immigration court cases.

Economy and Small Business

JPMorgan estimates the U.S. economy is losing more than $1.5
billion a week because of the shutdown, a fraction of the $20 trillion economy.
Fitch Ratings warned that an extended shutdown might damage the country’s
Triple-A credit rating and the Small Business Administration stopped processing
new loans

Any small business owner hoping to get approved for a loan
from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will have to wait. Processing
for most SBA lending programs will be on hold when the agency's employees are
on furlough.

Tourism and other Businesses

It’s a slower month for tourism, but the partial shutdown
has deepened the lull, with Smithsonian institutions closed. Business owners,
taxi drivers and others who rely on foot traffic have watched revenue slump as
parts of the government ground to a halt. Non-Smithsonian museums are reporting
an increase in visitors.

Slower Hiring

Employers looking to hire new employees during the shutdown
could run into problems. One of the casualties of the shutdown is access to the
federal E-verify, an internet-based system that allows businesses to determine
the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States. The issue is
having serious implications in states that are required to verify employees'
legal status via the program before they are hired.