March 2020 NPL Update from NCCPAP

By NCCPAP Staff posted 03-30-2020 10:13 AM


Topics Include: Update from Commissioner Rettig and COVID-19 Compliance Issues

Immediate Past President and current Tax Chair, Stephen Mankowski, CPA, recently attended the March 2020 IRS NPL meeting.

Bookmark this IRS Page for Ongoing Updates Regarding Coronavirus Tax Relief

Update from Commissioner Rettig

The IRS is experiencing similar concerns as we are, plus they are a vital component at this time. In addition, they will also be responsible to pay out the stimulus payments from the recently passed COVID-19 emergency bill. The IRS has over 30,000 workers telecommuting at this time. While 50% attendance is required at the IRS call centers, some centers have had over 70% of their employees show up. Also, many that have been requested to telework, have instead gone into work. All Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) are closed for safety. As of March 26, the Practitioner Priority Service (PPS) and many other phone lines were shut down for safety. Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites may remain open as drive-through. The IRS is also working with other countries to see what they are doing regarding tax filing. There is best practice sharing among countries to improve the filing season worldwide.

Through a new People First Initiative, the IRS will allow taxpayers to focus on the bigger picture and their families. We are all in this together and working cooperatively will help make this season flow better. There may be issues with statutes expiring on cases that the IRS is working. Taxpayers are urged to be focused on this, as well. Filing delinquent returns helps this process and gets taxpayers into compliance, and most likely eligible for the stimulus. The IRS is still working on the situations where a taxpayer has no filing requirement.

In order to keep compliant, the IRS is being creative by sending data electronically to taxpayers, using tools like SecureZIP and by calling taxpayers with passwords. Faxed documents can still be sent. Audits are still ongoing, but remotely. New audits might not be started at this time, but that is NOT yet definite. If a statute is involved, a new audit could be started to protect the IRS.

COVID-19 Compliance Issues

The IRS is thinking about the health and welfare of practitioners. They are also learning ways to handle things more efficiently. In many cases, the IRS is acting in a similar fashion to recent shutdowns, but it’s different in that they need to focus on the health and safety of employees, taxpayers, and practitioners. Telework is alive and active within the IRS.

Overall, there are many questions and the IRS is working to get answers. The IRS continues to juggle all of the various factors and now also has the responsibility of paying out the stimulus. Patience is required to ensure that we can all get through this. The IRS is still planning on hosting its annual Tax Forums starting in July. The NPL team is continuing to work hard to get information out to practitioners and fielding as many questions as possible.

Stay tuned for updates from your NCCPAP National Public Liaison. The next meeting is scheduled for April 23, 2020.