In response to the growing impact that COVID-19 is having on our daily lives and economy, the IRS released its People First Initiative. This Initiative was released on March 25, 2020, and includes many taxpayer friendly provisions. As explained by the Tax Commissioner, this Initiative was designed to “provide immediate relief to help people facing uncertainty over taxes.” Important among these provisions is the suspension of key compliance programs and payments under existing installment agreements. The start date for these new policies is April 1st and will run initially through July 15th, 2020.
Existing Installment Agreements:
As part of the People’s First Initiative all payments under existing installment agreements will be suspended between April 1st and July 15th, 2020. Accordingly, payments due in March will still be due and taxpayers with direct debit installments should still plan on withdrawals through March 28th, 2020. However, beginning April 1st, 2020, these installment payments will be suspended until at least July 15th, 2020. Interest and penalties will continue to accrue on the underlying balances. However, the IRS will not issue any defaults during this time period.
Offers in Compromise:
For Offers in Compromise that are pending, the IRS will allow taxpayers until July 15, 2020 to provide any requested information to support the pending application. Additionally, the IRS will not close any Offers before July 15, 2020, without the taxpayer’s consent. Additionally, the IRS will not default any pending OIC applications for taxpayers who are delinquent in the filing of their 2018 tax return. However, taxpayers are required to file any delinquent 2018 returns (and their 2019 return) by July 15, 2020.
IRS Field Collection Activities:
The IRS also limited field collection activities by IRS Revenue Officers through July 15, 2020. During this time period, Revenue Officers will not issue any liens or levies. However, Revenue Officer will be permitted to continue to pursue high-income non-filers. Additionally, the IRS will also suspend any new passport restrictions and certifications to the State Department for taxpayers who are “seriously delinquent.”
Between April 1st and July 15, 2020, the IRS will not start any new field, office or correspondence examinations. For existing audits and examinations, the IRS will not hold any in-person meetings. However, the IRS examiners will continue existing audits remotely, when possible.
For any questions about how the IRS’s new People First Initiative will impact you or your business, please contact the attorneys at Terrence A. Grady & Associates, Co., LPA at 614-849-0376.