The IRS largely shut down in late March due to Covid-19. The shutdown has resulted in massive backlogs for the agency.
IRS service centers are now open in Kentucky, Texas, and Utah earlier this month. Some Austin, Texas facilities were temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for Covid-19.
While the IRS has begun processing paper tax returns, it faces a backlog of 10 million pieces of mail, including 4.7 million tax returns, according to a memo from the House Committee on Ways & Means.
The IRS has updated its website to provide guidance for taxpayers.
If you’re waiting for paper tax return to be processed
The IRS is experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing. If you already filed a paper return, the IRS will process it in the order they received it.
Do not file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return or your Economic Impact Payment.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to file electronically through their tax preparer, tax software provider, or IRS Free File.
Ordering forms and publications
The IRS’s National Distribution Center is closed until further notice.
They are not able to take any orders for forms or publications to be mailed during this time. Most forms and publications are available for download electronically at IRS.gov/forms.
Contacting the IRS
Automated phone lines which handle most taxpayer calls remain available.
Some tax compliance lines also remain available. Limited customer service lines remain open, such as the EIP phone line for those who received an EIP letter (Notice 1444); however callers should expect long waits.
To check on regular tax refund status via automated phone, call 800-829-1954.
Taxpayers who mail correspondence to the IRS during this period should expect to wait longer than usual for a response.
Once normal operations resume it will take the IRS time to work through any correspondence backlog.
Correspondence sent to IRS offices may be returned to the taxpayer if that office is closed and no one is available to accept them.
If you receive a balance due notice
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IRS was unable to mail some previously printed balance due notices as a result of office closures.
As IRS operations continue to reopen, these notices will be delivered to taxpayers in the next few weeks.
Given the time it would take to reprogram IRS systems, and generate updated notices, some of the notices taxpayers will receive have due dates that have already passed.
However, each notice will include an insert confirming that the due dates printed on the notices have been extended.
The payment due dates printed on the notices have been extended, as described in the insert.
The new payment due date will be either July 10, 2020, or July 15, 2020, depending upon the type of tax return and original due date.
Taxpayers should be sure to read the insert included with the notice that explains the delay and provides the correct payment due dates.
Verifying your identity
If you received correspondence (Letters 5071C, 5447C or 5747C) from the IRS asking if you filed a suspicious tax return, you may use the online Identity Verification Service to validate your identity.
If you received a Letter 4883C, follow its instructions. Please note: phone assistance is limited and wait times are lengthy.