Published: | Last Updated: October 18, 2023
NTA Blog: Nationwide Tax Forum FAQs – Part One
Top Questions from the NTA Summer Town Hall Series and Resources – Just for You!
I was one of the individuals advocating to stop the notices until the IRS addressed the high volume of calls and millions of pieces of unprocessed correspondence. However, a year and a half later, the suspension of those letters and notices is still in place but is expected to come to an end sometime this calendar year.
My concern is the longer the notices are delayed, the more that taxpayers may have a false sense that the IRS may have forgotten about their tax balance — or maybe taxpayers fail to understand that interest and penalties continue to accrue until final payment. But regardless of a taxpayer’s understanding, the IRS does remember those outstanding balances, and if the balance goes unpaid, interest and applicable penalties continue to accrue.
In Part One of the series on Notices, I outlined some of the key things to know about outstanding tax balances and urged taxpayers to proactively address any unfiled tax returns and unpaid taxes now rather than waiting for the IRS to contact them.
Helpful Resources for IRS Status Updates and Notices
To get periodic updates on IRS operations and service delays, visit the IRS Operations: Status of Mission-Critical Functions page. This resource includes helpful information for tax professionals and taxpayers, such as how long you may have to wait to receive a response from the IRS after answering a letter or notice.
The TAS Taxpayer Roadmap is also a valuable resource to get information about some of the most common notices. All you need to do is enter the notice number in the search field to get an overview of the notice and an explanation of what the notice means for the taxpayer, why the taxpayer received the notice, and any next steps that need to happen.
We heard from many tax professionals across the nation about taxpayers who never received the third-round economic impact payment (EIP), otherwise known as a stimulus payment.
The third-round EIPs were authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and were sent to eligible individuals starting in March of 2021. By December 31, 2021, the IRS issued all third-round EIPs. Some families and individuals may not have received any EIP, or received less than the full amount of EIP, because their circumstances in 2021 were different than they were in 2020.
If you believe a taxpayer should have received a third-round EIP and did not get it or claim it on their 2021 tax return, the first step is to check the eligibility requirements. Eligibility for the third-round EIP varies somewhat from the first two rounds of EIP.
Next, have the taxpayer check their individual IRS online account and look under “Tax Records” to find information regarding EIP. Also check all bank accounts to make sure there were no EIP deposits. After these steps, if the taxpayer did not receive their third payment, they should contact the IRS to try to resolve the issue.
For more information about COVID-19 tax relief visit IRS.gov and see the IRS Fact Sheet, Questions and Answers about the Third-Round Economic Impact Payment.
As I said in my Objectives Report to Congress, “the taxpayer experience vastly improved during the 2023 filing season.” Add that to the funding provided to the IRS by the Inflation Reduction Act, and I am generally optimistic for the future of tax administration. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe not today but going forward, the IRS is going to be a different place in terms of taxpayer service and tax administration as long as they focus and provide proper management and oversight of the funding.
But the IRS still has a long way to go in providing the level of service taxpayers deserve and there are still a lot of taxpayers who need help. One place that taxpayers and practitioners can check for self-help resources is on the TAS website and IRS.gov. All of us at TAS are here to help taxpayers and tax professionals acting on behalf of their clients. If you are facing a hardship and have not been able to resolve your issues with the IRS through normal channels, or if the system has broken down, that is when TAS can offer meaningful assistance and advocate for you with our IRS partners.
Stay tuned for Part Two, where we will cover questions related to reporting requirements for Form 1099-K, Payment Card and Third Party Network Transactions; online services; identity theft; and more.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the National Taxpayer Advocate. The National Taxpayer Advocate presents an independent taxpayer perspective that does not necessarily reflect the position of the IRS, the Treasury Department, or the Office of Management and Budget.