The IRS recently announced a suspension period for collection activities in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This suspension, which is set to last from March 30th to July 15th, 2020, is designed to provide relief to taxpayers who are struggling due to the economic hardship caused by the pandemic. During this time, IRS officers working remotely will not pursue any enforcement action and have been instructed to be more sensitive to taxpayers’ personal circumstances when contacting individuals about tax-related issues. The IRS is aware of the financial hardship caused by stay-at-home orders, business and school closures, and illness, and is working to alleviate the economic burden to the best of its ability.

Who is Affected?

Many taxpayers are affected by this temporary cease of collection activities by the IRS. According to Accounting Today, this includes:

  • Individuals who currently have installment agreements with the IRS. These taxpayers can suspend payments due between April 1 and July 15th, 2020. However, interest on the balance due will still accrue and late fees may apply.
  • Those who have been previously targeted for collection by the IRS. These individuals will benefit from the cease of wage garnishment, which we discussed in our article here, as well as property seizure, civil suits, and lien filings for the duration of the suspension period.

In addition to those newly affected by this announcement, the new July 15th tax deadline to file 2019 tax returns is still in effect, bringing additional relief to many.

Exceptions to the Suspension

There are some exceptions to the suspension, which according to the IRS includes cases in which:

  • There is a risk of permanent loss to the government due to the expiration of a statute or other exigent circumstance
  • The taxpayer has agreed to an action.

If you are in one of those categories, the IRS may still pursue collection on the amount you owe. However, for most, this suspension should bring a small measure of economic relief. For the most updated information on how the IRS is responding to the COVID-19 crisis, you can visit their website here.

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