Adele probably wasn’t referencing the IRS in her epic hit ‘Hello’, but the line fits all the same. The Shutdown of December 2018/January 2019 left a lot of wreckage in its wake, but the fallout was particularly disastrous at the IRS, having created an enormous backlog of work that some are saying may take over a year to catch up with.
By the time the shutdown ended, the IRS faced the following:
More than 5 million pieces of mail that hadn’t been batched for processing.
80,000 unaddressed responses to Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) audits from the previous tax season, some of which included frozen tax refunds.
87,000 amended returns that still needed to be processed.
Taxpayers who desperately needed their frozen tax refunds or required relief from an IRS penalty had nowhere to turn during the shutdown, the report found. No IRS employee or TAS employee – which advocate for taxpayers – were authorized to work to assist a taxpayer experiencing a hardship because of the IRS.
The IRS chief counsel said that these functions didn’t meet the requirements for the “safety of life” exception under the Anti-Deficiency Act.
“Neither of these exceptions would allow personnel to be excepted to issue a refund or release a levy in order to allow the taxpayer to obtain access to funds to receive a life-saving operation, for example,” the report stated. “Nor could the IRS use resources to release a levy where it is depriving the taxpayer of funds to pay for basic living expenses, even if the levy could leave the taxpayer homeless.”
Maybe the only thing scarier than trying to call the IRS on your own is trying to call them after you find out they levied your bank account or garnished your wages AND NOW YOU CAN’T REACH ANYONE WHO CAN HELP! The IRS’s average hold time to speak to a live person in Collections has substantially increased since the shutdown, and it was long and tedious to begin with!
We can have the IRS on the phone in minutes for our clients. If you’re having issues with the IRS – you owe a lot money from back taxes or you have years of unfiled returns, or you’re a business owner with payroll tax problems – we can help. Call us now for a free IRS transcript investigation and analysis at 855-477-2255.