Friday is the first of five dates the Internal Revenue Service will close its offices and place employees on unpaid leave because of government-wide spending cuts.

The sequester is also forcing the IRS to cease operations on June 14, July 5, July 22 and Aug. 30, according to a statement from then-acting Commissioner Steve Miller.

Two more furlough days might be necessary in August or September, he said.

The IRS scheduled three of its closures near federal holidays, creating four-day weekends for furloughed workers on Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

"We came to a decision that balances our primary mission to serve the taxpayers and considers the effect on employees," Miller said in an email to employees.

The IRS can gain additional cost savings on utilities and other services in its office locations, he said.

Nearly 400 taxpayer assistance centers will be closed on the furlough dates, including the local branch at 2801 Eastern Blvd. in Springettsbury Township.

Despite the closures, taxpayers should continue to file their returns and pay any taxes due as usual, according to an IRS memo.

Others, too: The IRS is one of many federal agencies affected by the sequester. Others include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

HUD announced last week that it will close offices nationwide on seven sporadic dates, beginning Friday.

The seven dates are paired with holidays and weekends to lessen the impact of furlough, according to an agency news release. In addition to the Friday before Memorial Day, the dates include June 14, July 5, July 22, and Aug. 2, 16 and 30.

For more information, visit www.irs.gov or www.hud.gov.

-- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.