The IRS Is Now Warning Taxpayers Not to Do This
The tax agency has made a major change to one of its processes.
Every year, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) floods mailboxes across the U.S. with a number of different letters, from warnings about errors on a taxpayer's return to alerts about owed payments. After all, mail is the agency's most frequently used form of correspondence, as phone calls and emails can easily be faked by opportunistic scammers. The IRS even informed taxpayers earlier this year that they might receive two new physical notices this year pertaining to advanced child tax credits and the third round of stimulus payments. But now, the tax agency has made a major change to the letters it mails—and with this adjustment, the IRS just issued a new warning to taxpayers. Read on to find out what the agency says you should not be doing.
The IRS just suspended several of its notices.
The IRS announced on Feb. 9 that it had paused the shipment of more than a dozen letters and automated notices. According to the tax agency, a backlog of several million unprocessed original and amended returns from last year has resulted in many taxpayers receiving notices that don't actually apply to them. The suspension of these letters is a step to "help avoid confusion for taxpayers and tax professionals," the IRS said.
The tax agency has halted several different individual taxpayers and business notices: CP80, CP59, CP259, CP516, CP518, CP501, CP504, and 2802C. These letters include various alerts about un-filed tax returns, return delinquency, owed balances, and incorrect tax withholdings.
If you receive a notice that doesn't apply to you, don't call the IRS.
This doesn't mean you won't check your mail in the coming weeks and find something from the IRS in there. "Some taxpayers and tax professionals may still receive these notices during the next few weeks," the tax agency said, noting that letters might already be on their way. The IRS is also not allowed to put a stop to certain notices that are legally required to be issued within a specific timeframe.
However, if you receive a letter that doesn't apply to you, you don't need to contact the tax agency to let them know. "Generally, there is no need to call or respond to the notice as the IRS continues to process prior year tax returns as quickly as possible," the agency warned. The admonition not to call is meant to save you some time and irritation, as you likely wouldn't even get through. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, only 11 percent of calls made to the IRS last year ended up even reaching a customer service representative. And experts suspect that the percentages of calls answered will continue to drop in 2022.
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The agency says most of these notices will be suspended until the backlog is clear.
According to the IRS, these automatic notices will be temporarily paused until the agency is able to work through its extensive backlog. "The IRS will continue to assess the inventory of prior year returns to determine the appropriate time to resume the notices," the agency explained. In Jan. 2022, the agency had more than 11 million unprocessed tax returns left over from last year, CNN reported.
"IRS employees are committed to doing everything possible with our limited resources to help people during this period," IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. "We are working hard, long hours pushing creative paths forward in an effort to be part of the solution, rather than the problem. Our employees continue to expend every effort to balance a confluence of multiple, unprecedented demands—including successfully starting the filing season, working our inventory of unprocessed tax returns as well as looking for additional ways to minimize burden for taxpayers, tax professionals and businesses."
You might still receive certain letters that warrant a response.
Don't just toss aside every IRS letter you get from here on out. Despite the suspension of nearly a dozen different alerts, taxpayers might still receive notices from the agency that are relevant to their current situation and could necessitate a response. "If a taxpayer or tax professional believes a notice is accurate, they should act to rectify the situation for the well-being of the taxpayer," the IRS warned.
According to the tax agency, examples of this might include people who have a balance due that can accrue interest and penalties. "In addition, IRS employees may in select circumstances issue notices to particular taxpayers to resolve specific compliance issues," the agency explained.