The Internal Revenue Service office in Riverhead will be closing on Jan. 26 and East End residents will have to travel to Hauppauge if they need IRS assistance, one official told the News-Review today.
George Greenberg, the president of the local National Treasury Employees Union branch, which represents staffers at the Riverhead IRS office on East Main Street, said they were told in December that the office would close and were told today, Wednesday, that it would close on Jan. 26.
Prior to December, the IRS had planned to relocate the Riverhead office into a suite in the complex at 905 East Main Street, which is where a Merrill Lynch office is located.
“They just went through a whole process where they signed a lease and began renovating that space and buying furniture for it, and then, all of a sudden, there was a notification saying they’ve changed their minds and they’re just going to close the whole office down,” Mr. Greenberg said. “They put quite a bit of money into it.”
The Riverhead IRS has five employees and has been at its current location for more than 30 years, Mr. Greenberg said.
The people in the office provide assistance to walk-in customers who need help preparing tax returns, and also to people who have been called in by the IRS on what is called an office audit, Mr. Greenberg said. People who are owed money by the federal government also were assisted at that office, he said.
“We estimate that for just walk-in traffic, there is an average of 44 people per day that are helped at the Riverhead office,” Mr. Greenberg said. “For the people who are called in, we estimated that there are about 300 per year. So that’s quite a few people that this office takes care of.”
He said the IRS has discussed closing the Riverhead office in the past, in the 1980s, but the decision was reversed after the area’s federal representatives got involved.
The Riverhead office is the only IRS office east of Hauppauge. The East End population will have to travel to Hauppauge for IRS assistance after Jan. 26, Mr. Greenberg said.
The Hauppauge office is located at 1180 Veterans Highway, off Exit 57 on the Long Island Expressway.
IRS spokesperson Dianne Besunder was not immediately able to confirm information about the Riverhead closure for The Suffolk Times.