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Protests against the Government Shutdown Protests against the Government Shutdown. Photo courtesy AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees)

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Updates on the US Government Shutdown for Americans in the UK
Latest news on the shutdown and its affect on Americans abroad

Published on January 16, 2019

As more reports emerge on the current US Goverment Shutdown - the longest in the nation's history - the effects of the shutdown on Americans living overseas is becoming clearer. Here are some news updates to be aware of as an American living overseas, particularly those who work for the Federal Government.

White House's dilemma on informing Americans overseas about the Shutdown

A report last night posted on the Washington Post website highlighted one of the emerging problems of the Shutdown as it relates to notifying Federal Employees working overseas.

The Washington Post explains that "the initial notification they gave 800,000 federal employees that they would not be paid was set to expire Monday, and all of those employees must be notified again." The Post goes on to note, however, that "agency officials do not know how to notify all the employees, some of whom are working in outposts around the globe. They cannot email these workers — the employees are not allowed to check their work email during a shutdown. The White House Office of Management and Budget held a conference call with a number of agencies Tuesday to discuss how to proceed but could not come up with a solution. One idea was to send a certified letter to all 800,000 employees, but because of the shutdown, the agencies lack the money to pay for the postage."

We have reached out to the AFGE (American Federation of Government Employees) for comment on how the Shutdown is affecting Government Employees overseas, particularly in the UK. We will update you if we receive a reply. In the mean time, if you have any Shutdown Stories of your own, as Americans working overseas, e-mail editor@theamerican.co.uk if you'd like to tell your story.

Taxes? The IRS may be affected, but you'll still need to return your forms on time

As widely reported, the IRS is considering ending furloughs for over half of its workforce, requiring as many as 46,000 IRS employees to return to work ahead of the tax filing season. US Expat Tax specialist firm Greenback Tax have posted a useful article explaining how the Shutdown is affecting the IRS, and in turn how it may affect Overseas Americans ahead of the 2018 tax-year filing season. Best practice seems to be: if in doubt, consult a US Tax specialist.

The US Embassy, and American Citizen Services, remain open.

As we reported yesterday on The American magazine's website, the US Embassy in London remains open for American Citizen Services. An Embassy spokesman explained "American Citizen Services is fully operational. In addition, the Embassy has excepted staff from the furlough who are on hand to ensure the embassy can address matters involving the safety of human life, the protection of property, or an issue essential to national security, including the conduct of foreign affairs essential to national security."

Are you an American overseas affected by the Shutdown?

#ShutdownStories have been trending on social media since before the end of 2018. This article from Vox highlights some of the specific problems affecting US Diplomats working overseas for the State Department. If you're being affected by the Government Shutdown and would like to share your story, do contact editor@theamerican.co.uk.

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