IRS People First Initiative

Yesterday, March 25, 2020, the IRS announced its “People First Initiative.”  The initiative was put into place to “help people facing the challenges of COVID-19 issues.”  

The IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said, “The IRS is taking extraordinary steps to help the people of our country.  In addition to extending tax deadlines and working on new legislation, the IRS is pursuing unprecedented actions to ease the burden on people facing tax issues.  During this difficult time, we want people working together, focused on their well-being, helping each other and others less fortunate.”  

While this sounds promising, and definitely necessary during this difficult time, we remain cautiously optimistic.  Whenever taxpayers are dealing with the IRS, it is important to have a tax attorney who makes sure that the IRS is following the law and proper procedures.  Hopefully, the People First Initiative will be promptly instituted and followed, but you want to have a tax attorney who can make sure that the procedures are followed just in case.  

Some highlights from the initiative: 

For taxpayers under existing installment agreements, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020, are suspended.  This means you will not default on your installment agreement if you cannot make payments during this time, but interest will continue to accrue on your balance.  

While we do not have any official guidance on this, it may also be the case that you will be able to set up installment agreements more quickly and efficiently during this time – fingers crossed.  

For offers in compromise (OIC), the IRS will allow until July 15, 2020, to get additional requested information into the IRS.  Taxpayers who already have an OIC will be allowed to suspend payments until July 15, 2020.  If a taxpayer currently has an OIC and files their return on or before July 15, 2020, the OIC will not default.  

In addition, right now may be a good time to submit a new OIC because your liabilities may go up relative to your assets during this difficult time.  

With respect to field collection activities, liens and levies are supposed to be suspended during this time.  However, field revenue officers may continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted.  

In person meetings with IRS should be suspended during this time, and where possible said meetings will be held remotely if needed.  

Some other points from the initiative can be found here on the IRS website.  

Mendes Weed, LLP is here to help you during this difficult time if you have any questions about your tax matter.  Please feel free to reach out to us at (925) 390-3222.  

If you have been considering resolving your past due tax liability with a collection alternative such as an offer in compromise or installment agreement, right now would be an excellent time to do it.  While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, your chances may possibly be better during this People First Initiative.  

We are here to help you with tax law matters, estate planning, probate, divorce, child custody and visitation, trust/estate litigation, domestic violence, civil, and elder abuse restraining orders, unlawful detainers, and civil litigation.  We are able to meet with clients remotely, so that you are not left without legal options. We are happy to help!

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