To assist taxpayers facing issues related to COVID-19, the IRS yesterday announced its People First Initiative, which, beginning on or about April 1 and continuing through at least July 15, will temporarily adjust certain IRS compliance programs. During this period, the IRS will:
- Allow taxpayers to suspend payments due under existing installment agreements. By law, however, interest will continue to accrue.
- Suspend any information, payments, and returns due under existing applications for Offers in Compromise.
- Suspend liens and levies.
- Suspend passport certifications to the US State Department for seriously delinquent taxpayers (those owing more than $53,000 of taxes, interest, and penalties). Certifications allow the State Department to revoke existing passports and to prevent their issuance or renewal.
- Not forward delinquent accounts to private collection agencies.
- Generally not initiate audit examinations, except for certain corporate and business taxpayers desiring to begin examinations while personnel and records are available.
- Suspend in-person meetings in existing audits, but continue working such audits remotely, with an expectation that taxpayers respond to requests for information where possible.
- Expect taxpayers to respond to other requests for information, including requests in existing Appeals cases, where possible.
- Suspend compliance with Earned Income Tax Credit information requests.
- Continue to take all necessary steps to protect the government’s interest in preserving all applicable statutes of limitations, including issuing notices of deficiency where taxpayers do not cooperate with requests to execute waivers extending such statutes. Additionally, field examiners will continue to pursue “high-income” non-filers (currently understood to be individuals with incomes greater than $100,000 annually who haven’t filed tax returns for 2018 or earlier years).
Once the initiative is in place, the IRS expects to review it and, where appropriate, modify or expand its provisions. Details, however, concerning what, if anything, taxpayers must do to obtain relief under this initiative are not yet available. As more details are released, we will update you.
As always, please contact your Friedman LLP advisor for questions or clarifications.
And we hope you and those close to you stay well and safe.