Even though the government shutdown has ended and IRS employees have returned to work, it could be a while before we can say that things are “back to normal.” We are seeing continued delays in both Exams and Collections cases as IRS personnel catch up on their backlog. If you’ve ever returned to work after an unusually long break, you understand how the first several days back are spent putting out fires and giving attention to the most urgent tasks first. If you had been working with a revenue officer prior to the shutdown, and you have not heard from him/her yet, then it is probably because they have put a higher priority on some other cases besides your own. Don’t be offended; we really have no way of knowing what is happening with assignments and caseload on their end. Instead, it would be wise to take inventory and re-evaluate where you are on your end of things.
Every revenue officer I have worked with has given the taxpayer a specific set of tasks or requests, usually having to do with filing missing tax returns and/or providing financial information. This lull in activity from revenue officers is the perfect time to get everything in order. Maybe your due date has long passed and you haven’t heard from your revenue officer in a couple of months. Now is the best time to prepare your case because you can do so without the pressure applied by an overbearing revenue officer. Once the fires have been put out and they pick up your file, you can bet there will be short deadlines and the ever-present threat of levies and other active collection measures. Ideally, the IRS will attempt to reestablish contact with taxpayers first, and possibly set new deadlines. I’ve been doing this long enough to know that there will be some revenue officers who will not do the right thing; they will come back at you with all guns blazing, and their first post-shutdown contact with you will be a levy notice.
It is human nature to procrastinate when faced with a task that we don’t enjoy. And it is human nature to defensively wait for the IRS to come back into contact and put our tax matters aside while things are quiet. But for all we know, this is the calm before the storm. Now is the time to file missing returns, change your withholdings, make an estimated tax payment, gather bank statements, or whatever it is you know you have to do. If you owe back taxes and haven’t heard from the IRS in a couple of months, try to fight off the notion that maybe it will just go away; this kind of thing does not magically go away.
Contact us today with any and all questions you may have. MW Attorneys is happy to offer advice and guidance when it comes to dealing with the IRS.