The Internal Revenue Service's headquarters in Washington will likely remain closed for at least the next 30 days due to flooding and electrical outages.

"The building will be closed for an extended period of time, and we will reoccupy it only when it is safe to do so," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "We're working closely with the General Service Administration to make all necessary repairs."

While an assessment of total damages will not be completed for several more days, the agency said that costs are expected to run in the tens of millions of dollars.

Saying that service and enforcement operations won't be impacted by the closure, the agency released the first extensive details on the damage to its main office building at 1111 Constitution Ave. three days after torrential rains hit the Washington metro area.

In a statement, the agency said that the building's subbasement -- which houses electrical and maintenance equipment -- had been submerged in more than 20 feet of water. Early estimates are that the systems appear to be 95 percent damaged or destroyed. The building's basement was flooded with another five feet of water, and the fitness center, food service canteens, offices, systems furniture, carpet, ceiling tiles, computer equipment and vehicles located on the level were all destroyed.

Water will continue to be pumped from the subbasement until the level is emptied Friday. A clean-up and decontamination crew began cleanup efforts in the basement level on Wednesday and by the week's close, two crews of about 50 people will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the cleanup is complete.

The 2,400 employees who work at the headquarters building are either being relocated to another dozen buildings the IRS occupies in the metro area, or into temporary space, and some workers will telecommute.

The agency also announced a temporary change of address for the delivery of taxpayer requests for rulings, requests for determination letters, applications for change in accounting method (Form 3115), and other requests that are normally required to be hand-delivered to the main headquarters. Until further notice, these requests and applications should be delivered to the IRS offices at 950 L'Enfant Plaza, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C., 20024. Documents previously hand-delivered to the headquarters will be processed.

Previously on WebCPA:

Flooding Shutters IRS Headquarters (June 29, 2006)

Fire Closes IRS HQ; Agency Opens Mailbox for E-Mail Scams (March 30, 2006)


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