There’s no mistake that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of our lives these past few months. From something as routine now as wearing a mask to go to the grocery store to the more profound economic impact that has rippled across the country, we’re all adjusting to this new normal.
What you may not know is that the Internal Revenue Service isn’t immune from the effects of the pandemic. It too has faced the challenges of remote work and shutdowns. Here are four things you should keep in mind about the IRS in a COVID world as you start to do your planning for the upcoming year:
- Like the majority of businesses across the country, the onset of the pandemic sent the employees of the IRS home to work remotely. Many of these employees are just now starting to return to the office, though it varies from location to location. It’s important to remember that the IRS is not in one central location, but rather scattered in offices across the country. That means some IRS employees in Georgia might be getting acclimated to being back in the office, but there could be those in California or New York who are still dealing with various restrictions.
- The IRS gets a lot of mail every day, and without people in the office to process it, it’s likely many offices are backlogged to the tune of millions of pieces of mail. There’s going to be a period of time where they have to catch up, so please keep this in mind in case you’ve sent something in or are waiting on a response. As such, e-Filing a tax return likely is something everyone should consider.
- This slowdown also meant the IRS briefly halted sending notices out to individuals and businesses, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get one. As offices come back online and workers catch up on backlogged tasks, notices will start going out again.
- Audits are slated to return, just not face to face. The IRS stopped conducting audits out of safety concerns once the pandemic arrived, but they are in the process of restarting them virtually.
The key thing you need to remember here is to stay patient. The IRS, like businesses across the country, is playing catch-up and trying to find the best way to navigate a world impacted by COVID-19. Keep in mind that since the reopening rules will vary from location to location, it’s likely best to simply pick up the phone if you want to connect with a representative because even if you’re waiting on hold for 30 minutes or longer, you’re probably going to get a faster response than if you rely on the mail.
As many small businesses begin to plan for the upcoming year, it’s always good to have a trusted adviser by your side to navigate your tax preparation and planning. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Padgett office and find out how we can help your small business reach its goals.