IRS Temporarily Halts Collection Notices — What To Do If You Still Get One

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In what will undoubtedly come as a relief to taxpayers who are tired of getting mail from the IRS, the agency announced Wednesday that it is suspending more than a dozen automated letters so it can catch up on its massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns.

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The suspended letters include collection notices, balance due notices and unfiled tax return notices, Accounting Today reported. The move comes amid mounting pressure from lawmakers and tax professionals for the IRS to get current on unprocessed returns.

As previously reported by GOBankingRates, the IRS faces a staffing shortage just as it is gearing up for a potentially complicated tax season, with filers including stimulus checks and advance Child Tax Credit payments on this year’s returns. The agency said it will temporarily reassign about 1,200 employees to help it navigate the next several months and hopefully avoid another backlog of unprocessed returns.

Read: 80% Don’t Rely on a Tax Professional to Do Their Taxes – Here Are the Top Mistakes They Make

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A coalition of tax professional organizations — including the American Institute of CPAs, the National Association of Tax Professionals, the National Association of Enrolled Agents and the National Conference of CPA Practitioners — has urged the IRS to suspend the automated collection notices until it catches up on unprocessed returns. Members of Congress have also pressured the agency to reduce the backlog.

The IRS finally relented on Wednesday, announcing that it will suspend the automated notices.

“Our efforts are not limited to suspension of these additional letters and the possibility of similar actions going forward,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “We have redeployed and reallocated resources throughout the IRS and have implemented innovative strategies in an ongoing effort to provide a meaningful reduction in our inventories.”

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The IRS cautioned that some taxpayers and tax pros might still get notices over the next few weeks. If you get one that is outdated or has already been resolved, there’s no need to call or respond to it, according to Accounting Today. But if you believe a notice is accurate, the IRS recommends working to rectify the situation.

For example, the agency cautions people with a balance due that interest and penalties can continue to accrue. In certain circumstances, IRS staff might also issue notices to taxpayers to resolve specific compliance issues.

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As for taxpayers who have a filing requirement and haven’t yet filed a prior-year return or paid the taxes due: The IRS encourages you to do so promptly to avoid additional interest and penalties.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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