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Backlogged IRS Letters May Contain Old Action Dates, Warns NTA

IRS letters that weren’t sent due to the Coronavirus pandemic may include expired action dates where deadline extensions are in fact in place

Published on June 23, 2020

The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA), Erin M. Collins, is advising Americans who receive IRS letters with expired action dates not to panic, as in many cases, the letters were printed during the Coronavirus pandemic but have been backlogged due to the shutdown of IRS offices across the US.

In a blog posted on the Taxpayer Advocate Service website, the organization which supports the needs the US Taxpayers at the IRS, Collins wrote that "As the country continues to grapple with the COVID-19 emergency, IRS campuses are reopening and employees have begun processing the work backlog, including notices. During the shutdown, the IRS generated more than 20 million notices; however, these notices were not mailed. As a result, the notices bear dates that now have passed, some by several months, and some of the notices require taxpayers to respond by deadlines that also have passed. There is a silver lining, however. The IRS is providing additional time to respond before interest or penalties apply. To explain the extended response deadlines, the IRS is including in its mailings “inserts” such as Notice 1052-A, entitled 'Important! You have More Time to make Your Payment.' But even with these inserts, we anticipate confusion for taxpayers. The challenge will be to review the entire package and reference the insert to determine the revised due date before stressing out."

Among the letters expected to be sent out are around 1.5 million notices that taxpayers need to make a payment after their tax has been assessed. The NTA recommends recipients of such letters should look at the insert at the end of the letter, named Notice 1052-A, which is headlined "Important! You have More Time to make Your Payment" for updated deadlines. This Notice explains that:

- For returns due on or after April 1, 2020, and before July 15, 2020, taxpayers have until July 15, 2020, to make a payment before interest or penalties apply.

- For income tax returns due before April 1, 2020, or employment or excise returns due on or after April 1, 2020, taxpayers have until July 10, 2020, to make a payment before interest or penalties apply.

Collins also outlines other IRS letters which may contain expired deadlines, including 'Math Error Notices' and collection notices.

Make sure you check the insert in any IRS letters to ascertain the up to date deadlines, but if in doubt, contact your Tax Preparer or the IRS. The NTA Blog Post containing more specific detail about backlogged letters can be found at https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/news/nta-blog-mailbox?category=Tax%20News

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