We blogged on January 6 about the IRS practice of sending notices to individuals seeking to get them to file their 2020 return when the IRS had literally taken their check out of the envelope in which these individuals sent to the IRS their 2020 return. As we discussed in the post, this practice seemed wasteful both to the IRS and to taxpayers.
Yesterday, the IRS announced that it would stop this practice according to an article by Fred Stokeld in today’s Tax Notes edition. A small but nice step toward better and more efficient administration.
The Tax Notes article also reports, and includes, that a letter came from almost 200 members of Congress to the Secretary of Treasury yesterday increasing the pressure on the IRS to get rid of the backlog. Unfortunately, there have been no reports that a check was included with that letter. We all want to the IRS to fix the backlog and fix lots of other things but Congress needs to do more than send letters. It would be nice if it also sent some more money, though even that will not provide an immediate fix.
The letter did request that the IRS take a number of specific steps to provide relief while it works its way through the backlog. Many of those steps would provide meaningful relief:
However, we respectfully request the IRS consider the following measures to bring immediate relief to taxpayers, and reduce the backlog, during this tax filing season:
– Halt automated collections from now until at least 90 days after April 18, 2022;
– Delay the collection process for filers until any active and pending penalty abatement requests have been processed;
– Streamline the reasonable cause penalty abatement process for taxpayers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic without the need for written correspondence;
– Provide targeted tax penalty relief for taxpayers who paid at least 70 percent of the tax due for the 2020 and 2021 tax year; and
– Expedite processing of amended returns and provide TAS and congressional caseworkers with timely responses.
Tax Court Announcement
Continuing the unfortunate but quite logical path of its announcement regarding January trials, the Tax Court issued a press release yesterday, informing the parties, and the rest of us, that it was remaining in remote mode through February. My guess is we will see a similar announcement for March in a few weeks. We haven’t quite turned the corner yet and these announcements make sense even as they remind us of the continued impact of the virus. Here is the announcement in full: