The Internal Revenue Service is halting some collection and audit activities until July 15 as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, the agency said Wednesday.
The IRS will delay opening some new audits, pause sending some liens and suspend some payments to taxpayers who have agreements with the agency, according to a press release.
“We are temporarily adjusting our processes to help people and businesses during these uncertain times,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “We are facing this together, and we want to be part of the solution to improve the lives of all people in our country.”
The IRS has already taken some steps to ease enforcement, including suspending most notices and all levies issued by the agency’s automated collection system. The agency uses the system to demand payment on overdue tax bills and to take collection actions, including levying wages and bank account funds and filing federal tax liens.
The changes are intended to address concerns of low-income taxpayers and the clinics and attorneys who advise them.
Wednesday’s announcement comes as the IRS has delayed several key deadlines for tax forms and payments. The agency said last week it would give businesses and individuals until July 15 to file and pay their taxes to alleviate the burden on taxpayers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The IRS is also facing personnel and resource challenges as social distancing measures keep some employees at home and the agency faces additional work.
Congress is planning to vote this week on a bill that would direct the IRS to send payments to many American households to help combat an economic downturn as business shutter and consumers stay home. That bill would also give the agency an additional $250 million to cover the costs of processing those payments and the extra three months of the tax filing season.
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