IRS mission-critical operations continue; no face-to-face assistance

Ernie Neve, CPA

April 1, 2020

To protect employees and taxpayers, the IRS has scaled back our operations to focus on mission-critical activities for the nation. We continue to follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) as well as state and local officials to ensure the safety of IRS employees and the public we serve.

Many IRS offices in areas hardest hit by COVID-19 are closed or have reduced operations on mission-critical items. Telework-eligible employees across the IRS continue to work during this period.

The IRS emphasizes it is assessing its operations on a daily basis. The following is an overview of various operations of interest to taxpayers and tax professionals:

In-person assistance. The IRS has temporarily suspended almost all face-to-face contacts with taxpayers. All Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) are closed and face-to-face service discontinued throughout the country until further notice. For taxpayers with TAC appointments, every effort to resolve the taxpayer's assistance needs by phone will be made.

Automated applications. IRS.gov and many automated applications remain available, including such things as Where's My Refund, the IRS2Go phone app and online payments and online payment agreements.

Telephones. As the IRS continues to work through office closures and safety issues for IRS employees and taxpayers regarding COVID-19, the agency is taking steps to temporarily reduce live telephone assistance. This reduction is temporary and will not affect the ability of the IRS to issue economic impact payments. IRS automated phone lines, which handle the majority of taxpayer calls, remain fully operational during this period. Some compliance lines also remain available. IRS.gov is fully operational for taxpayers, and it remains the best source of information. All IRS updates on economic impact payments and other Covid-19 related issues will be posted on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as they become available.

Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) – Due to staff limitations the Practitioner Priority Service line is closed until further notice.

Please make IRS.gov your first option for answers to questions.

Practitioners with e-Services accounts and with client authorization can access the Transcript Delivery System to obtain prior-year transcripts. Taxpayers should use Where’s My Refund? and Get Transcript, both common requests.

Normal operations will resume as soon as possible.

Taxpayer appointments. During this period, all face-to-face appointments at an IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center are cancelled. Taxpayers do not need to call to cancel their appointments.

Taxpayer correspondence. While able to receive mail, the IRS will be responding to paper correspondence only to a very limited degree during this period. Taxpayers who mail correspondence to the IRS during this period should expect to wait longer than usual for a response. Even after normal operations resume as it will take the IRS time to work through any correspondence backlog.

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