To help people facing the challenges of the COVID-19 issues the IRS announced on March 25, 2020 a sweeping series of steps to assist taxpayers by providing relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.
These new changes include issues ranging from postponing certain payments related to Installment Agreements and Offers in Compromise to collection and limiting certain enforcement actions. The IRS expects the measures to start by April 1 and run initially through July 15.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE INITIATIVE INCLUDE:
Existing Installment Agreements – For taxpayers under an existing Installment Agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020, are suspended. The IRS will not default any Installment Agreement during this period. By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
Offers In Compromise (OIC) – Those taxpayers with pending OIC applications will have until July 15, 2020 to provide additional information as support and the IRS will not close any pending OIC request before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer’s consent. Taxpayers with accepted OIC offers can suspend payments until July 15, 2020, however by law interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances. IRS will not default any OIC for taxpayers who are delinquent in filing their 2018 return. Taxpayers should file their 2018 return and their 2019 return by July 15, 2020.
Field Collection Activities – Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended during this period. However, field revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.
Automated Liens and Levies – New automatic, systemic liens and levies will be suspended through July 15, 2020.
Passport Certifications to the State Department – IRS will suspend new certifications to the Department of the State for taxpayers who are “seriously delinquent” through July 15, 2020.
Private Debt Collection – New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies through July 15, 2020.
Field, Office and Correspondence Audits – IRS will generally not start new field, office, and correspondence examinations until July 15, 2020. They will continue to work refund claims where possible, without in-person contact.
- In-Person Meetings – These meetings for current field, office, and correspondence examinations will be suspended. IRS examiners will continue these examinations remotely if possible. If taxpayers can do so they are encouraged to respond to all IRS requests for information.
- Unique Situations – Where it is in the best interest of both parties and appropriate personnel are available, the IRS may initiate activities to go forward with an examination.
- General Requests for Information – IRS encourages taxpayers to respond to any other correspondence requesting additional information during this time if possible.
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Wage Verification Reviews – Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to respond to the IRS to verify that they qualify for the EITC or to verify their income. Until July 15, 2020, the IRS will not deny these credits for a failure to provide requested information.
Independent Office of Appeals – Appeals will continue to work their cases with conferences being held over the telephone or by videoconference. Taxpayers are encouraged to promptly respond to any outstanding requests for information in all Appeals cases.
Statute of Limitations – IRS will continue to protect all applicable statutes of limitations. In cases where statute expirations might be jeopardized, taxpayers are encouraged to cooperate in extending such statutes. Otherwise the IRS issue Notices of Deficiency and take steps to protect the interest of government in preserving such statutes. Where a statutory period is not set to expire during 2020, the IRS is unlikely to pursue significant collections and related actions until at least July 15, 2020.
Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) – IRS warns that there may be more significant wait times for the PPS. The IRS will continue to monitor this as situations develop.
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