Working With Taxing Authorities During The Coronavirus Pandemic

The recently imposed social distancing measures that are critical and essential to our nation’s battle with the coronavirus have had a dramatic impact on everyone’s everyday life. No one is exempt or excused from that impact. This includes our nation’s taxing authorities.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has created and is updating a website to detail developments specific to the coronavirus. That website can be found here:

There are a number of updates, which include extending April 15, 2020 filing and payment deadlines to July 15, 2020, and information regarding tax credits which will be available for small and midsize businesses to assist in recovery from the coronavirus.

The IRS also recently announced that it temporarily closed all of its taxpayer assistance centers. That closure is indefinite and the reopening of those centers will likely occur when the IRS determines that it can safely provide assistance to taxpayers without endangering taxpayers or its employees.

As of Monday, March 23, 2020, the IRS discontinued live telephone conferences at its various service centers across the country. This means, for the foreseeable future, tax professionals will need to submit requests in writing, via mail or fax. Because the IRS is restricting access to its system, it will be important to advise clients that on-going matters will likely be subject to delays.

For those tax professionals working with specific IRS employees, communications appear to be in working order. Though, given the above measures that the IRS has taken with its taxpayer assistance centers, it would not be surprising to see additional restrictions placed on IRS employees. The in-person meetings that had been so prevalent in last two years will most certainly be tabled until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

The Minnesota Department of Revenue (DOR) also has a website specifically dedicated to the specific developments relating to the coronavirus. That website can be found here:

The DOR has adopted the extended filing/payment deadline of July 15, 2020 for individual income tax returns. It also details a number of other tax extensions, like a 30-day sales and use tax extension, at the above-referenced website.

For those tax professionals working with specific DOR employees, communications appear to be in working order. Though, the DOR has implemented the guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Ultimately, like other industries, the tax industry is going to have to adjust to a new-normal. There will surely be growing pains in adjusting to this new-normal and all of the involved parties are going to have be accommodating of those developments. Communication between the parties will be critical to cushioning the severity of those growing pains. For now, that means continuing to work cases with the IRS and DOR in writing, via mail, email, and fax, while monitoring the above-detailed websites for future developments.