IRS Will Stop Sending Tax Notices Until It Clears Mail Backlog

The Internal Revenue Service will stop sending overdue tax notices until it clears a mail backlog accumulated while processing centers were closed for weeks during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

“This temporary adjustment to processing is intended to lessen any possible confusion that might be associated with delays in processing correspondence received from taxpayers,” the IRS said in a statement Friday. The agency said it’s made “significant reductions” already in working through unopened correspondence.

At the height of the backlog the IRS had amassed about 12 million pieces of mail stored in temporary trailers while the agency’s facilities were closed because of the pandemic. That caused delays of several months in processing paper tax returns and tax payments sent through the mail.

“The last thing Americans need in the middle of this pandemic is an unnecessary scare from the IRS regarding tax bills that have already been paid but are stuck in a backlog,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, who requested that the IRS pause the tax notices, said in a statement Friday.

Tax payments mailed to the IRS will be credited on the date the IRS received them, rather than when they’re opened, the agency said. Taxpayers shouldn’t cancel checks sent to the IRS, and should ensure that funds remain available in the account to avoid penalties and interest.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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