REACHING THE IRS DURING THE PANDEMIC

Reaching the IRS by mail-

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced in IR2020-68 that it is “not currently able to process individual paper tax returns.”  They remind everyone that “if you already have filed via paper but it has not yet been processed, do not file a second tax return or write to the IRS to inquire about the status of your return or your economic impact payment.” Paper returns will be processed once processing centers are able to reopen.

Along similar lines, while the IRS is receiving and storing mail, their mail processing functions have been scaled back to comply with social distancing recommendations. Taxpayers who mail correspondence to the IRS during this period should expect to wait longer than usual for a response. The IRS wishes to remind everyone that once normal operations resume it will take the IRS time to work through any correspondence backlog. Correspondence sent to IRS offices may be returned to the taxpayer if that office is closed and no one is available to accept it.

Reaching the IRS by telephone-

Automated phone lines, which handle most taxpayer calls, will remain available during this period. But phone lines supported by customer service representatives are not staffed at this time, either for taxpayers or their representatives. The Practitioner Priority Service line is also temporarily closed until further notice. However, the automated phone line to check on a tax refund status is open at 800-829-1954.

Online Options-

The IRS website (www.irs.gov) remains fully operational and is a good place for general tax information. COVID-19 news and updates are available at www.irs.gov/coronavirus. Taxpayers can check their refund status at Where’s My Refund? or obtain a tax transcript at Get Transcript Online.  Taxpayers also can make tax payments through Direct Pay. And finally, they can enter their bank account information for direct deposit of their rebate checks once the IRS portal opens in mid-April at https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments.

If you received correspondence from the IRS indicating that a suspicious tax return was filed on your behalf, you may use the online Identity Verification Service to validate your identity. Because the IRS cannot take calls or appointments right now, this is the only present option to do so.