The Internal Revenue Service is definitely back in business. The phone has been ringing at our office as IRS representatives are back to work, rescheduling conferences and setting new timelines on existing matters.
The IRS has also issued updates with respect to the resumption of field exam activities and field collections activities. Here are the highlights:
- Audits are back on. If you were scheduled for an examination which didn’t happen because of the shutdown, hang tight: your auditor will be reaching out to you. This could take a couple of days as auditors play catch up.
- IRS is still accepting audit information and supporting documents. If, however, you have materials that had been requested by your auditor – and you were just waiting for the shutdown to end in order to send it – you can go ahead and send that now. If you have questions about what might be due – and when – you can discuss this with your auditor when they touch base with you.
- The phones are open. If you’re super nervous about your exam, or you have questions about your audit report, you can call your auditor during business hours. But do you really want to? Again, the IRS has indicated that your auditor will reach out you after they start tackling their “to do” list. And while I generally encourage taxpayers to be proactive, the IRS has requested a little bit of patience from taxpayers.
- Deadlines – especially statutory deadlines – still apply. If you’ve received a 30 Day Letter or a Statutory Notice of Deficiency, the deadlines and the rules are still in play unless you’ve been notified otherwise.
- Filing and payment deadlines didn’t change. Filing and payment deadlines remained in effect during the shutdown even if there was no one available to process returns and payments. If you missed those deadlines, you will be subject to penalties and interest.
- Installment agreements and other payment arrangements which were in progress will continue. Revenue Officers are working through case loads and will be in touch. If you were waiting to hear about a resolution of your tax account issue, keep waiting… You’ll eventually get a call. Again, if you’re nervous, you can always reach out to your Revenue Officer during normal business hours.
- Time sensitive matters still need attention. If you have a pressing issue – like a Notice of Levy – you can call the number on the notice. Levies can cause major disruptions for taxpayers – including emptied bank accounts – so it’s important to respond to those within the mandatory time frame.
- Lien operations are back in business. If you have general lien questions, need to request a payoff balance of a federal tax lien or need a release of a federal tax lien, you can contact Centralized Lien Operation by mail (P.O. Box 145595, Stop 8420G, Cincinnati, OH 45250-5595); phone (1-800-913-6050) or fax (859-390-3528).
- Lien discharges are available. If you need to have a lien discharged on a tight time frame, such as for a closing, contact your local Collection Advisory Office. You can find the contact information for each office in Publication 4235 (downloads as pdf).
- Keep in mind that Tax Court is now open, too. For information about those deadlines and extensions, check out this prior post.
As more information becomes available, I’ll be sure to update you.