Update: On Monday, January 22, the Senate voted to break the filibuster and reopen the government…for at least a few weeks. Later in the day, the House approved the measure and the President signed it into law. The temporary measure lasts until February 8.


shutdown of the United States federal government began at midnight on Saturday, January 20, 2018, after a failure to pass a relevant legislation funding bill for government operations and agencies. If the shutdown continues, here are some ways certain small businesses may be impacted.

(Partial list. Will be updated.)


Taxes | The IRS expects to keep just over 35,000 employees, or about 43.5 percent of its workforce, on the job during the shutdown. That cut to staffing could have an impact as the tax season kicks into high gear, potentially delaying refunds to taxpayers, or not being available to answer questions.

Postal Service | The U.S. Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations so deliveries will continue.

Business Travel | Airline passengers are not expected to feel much impact. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) plans to have 53,865 of its 58,295 employees working during the shutdown. Air traffic control will not be affected.

Courts | U.S. Courts, including the Supreme Court, can continue to operate normally for about three weeks without additional funding.

SBA Loans | The processing of loans in some cases could be impacted. On its website, the SBA has warned that transactions may not be processed and that its staff will not be able to respond to inquiries until its funding is restored.

Food Inspections | Department of Agriculture food inspectors will continue to stay on the job.

Patents | The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) can remain open for a few weeks after the shut down since it will have access to fees already collected in prior years

Washington DC | Unlike in previous shutdowns, the local government in Washington, D.C. will continue operating through the shutdown, due to a provision enacted in the previous year’s appropriations legislation.

Military | All 1.3 million military personnel on active duty will remain on normal duty status. Civilian personnel in non-essential operations will be furloughed. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said a sustained funding impasse would cause ships to go without maintenance and aircraft to be grounded.


During shutdowns, non-essential government employees are furloughed, or placed on temporary unpaid leave. Workers deemed essential, including those dealing with public safety and national security, keep working. The last shutdown, in October 2013, lasted more than two weeks and more than 800,000 federal employees were furloughed.


Update: On Monday, January 22, the Senate voted to break the filibuster and reopen the government…for at least a few weeks.


SmallBusiness.com Stories from the 2013 Shutdown

A Government Shutdown Tale of Two Restaurants

Government Shutdown Causing Pain for Small Businesses

Wannabe Craft Brewers Are Hopping Mad Over Shutdown

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