If the federal government closes its doors on Oct. 1, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be either asked to go home or stay on the job without pay. But there is a potential quirk this time around: The tax collectors at the IRS may be able to keep working unimpeded.

The agency that processes returns and refunds for millions of Americans received billions of dollars in additional funding in 2022 and its most recent shutdown contingency plan lays out how that additional money could insulate the IRS from funding battles for at least a period of time.

“The IRS will not experience a lapse in appropriations,” reads the plan. For the agency’s 83,000 employees it added, “normal IRS operations will continue” in the event of a shutdown.

An updated plan for fiscal 2024, which begins the same day as a shutdown, is expected to be released in the coming days but experts say it’s unlikely the agency’s fiscal position has markedly changed dramatically in the last 12 months.

“Someone made the calculation that the last shutdown or previous shutdowns were painful enough in a way that they didn’t have to be,” notes Casey Burgat of the Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University.

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