IRS representative, single mom working weekdays without pay

Jari Johnson is 1 of thousands called back during shutdown

By Corley Peel - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Nearly 60 percent of the IRS workforce was called back last week, without pay, during the partial government shutdown so they could handle tax returns and send out refunds.

Jari Johnson, a single mom in Jacksonville who works for the IRS, is part of that 60 percent. She told News4Jax she's working five days a week without pay and is struggling to support her 4-year-old daughter.

"We're just showing up to work with hopes that we're going to get a paycheck soon," Johnson said. "They're not really telling us much of anything."

Johnson, who is an Air Force veteran, began working for the IRS in November. She is nervous about what might happen if the shutdown isn't soon resolved.

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"I'm living off my savings right now, but I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold up by doing that," she said. "It's affecting us every day."

The IRS employees' union contract allows them to be absent from work if they experience hardship during a shutdown. Several hundred of the 46,000 furloughed IRS employees recalled to work have gotten permission to stay off the job because of financial hardship.

The union and the IRS aren't providing specific numbers on employees not working and invoking the hardship provision.

The official start of the tax filing season comes Monday. The Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time.

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.