Maybe you’ve seen some of the news headlines.
- (AP News, 01/23/2022)
- (Washington Post, 01/28/2022)
- (CNN, 02/11/2022)
And too many other similar stories. Or maybe you haven’t even noticed the flood of news about the IRS since January — all of it reminding us that taxes are due soon — and most of it explaining that the IRS is in a bit of a mess since the pandemic, and what to expect, and what Uncle Sam is trying to do about it.
Most people don’t like to read news about the IRS, let alone get psyched up to file their tax returns. Maybe this blog article can help a little, first by condensing the news reports down into an easy to digest thousand words for you.
The Government Backlog
Delays in processing 2021 tax returns during 2022 are expected because the IRS says it still is working through 2020 tax returns. Exact numbers of backlogged tax returns are not available, but a shortage of workers at IRS during the pandemic and into the present year is a contributing factor. The best estimates by experts translate to IRS remaining many, many weeks behind — made worse by funding blockages in Congress not helping to speed up the IRS, despite the good intentions of some legislators (although IRS is presently hiring, if you are ready to start a fresh career as a tax examiner!).
The backlog and staff shortage also translates to diminished customer service, with huge delays in taking calls, providing answers, or booking appointments with live field agents.
Is Now a Good Time to Fudge on My Taxes?
No. It is never a good time to fudge on your tax return. Furthermore, the problems at IRS right now have created a sea of confusion that sometimes punishes the innocent with erroneous but threatening notices. Everything will get sorted out eventually — so to deviate from timely, honest, reporting on your tax filings would meanwhile be a very dangerous game.
Based on political pressures from elected officials receiving backlash from many irate voters, IRS has announced it is suspending some automated notices — to avert added correspondence with taxpayers (and more complaints from them). The IRS sure doesn’t need more paperwork in their logjam of backlog! However, IRS did not initially make a public list of which notices are suspended, other than one type that’s called a CP80 Notice. This notice alerts a taxpayer that the IRS received some tax payment but doesn’t have the tax return to match it against.
If you received a CP80 Notice in error because of the IRS backlog, you might also have gotten instructions to send a replacement signed copy of your “missing” tax return for the affected year. But replacement tax return copies also just added to the piles of backlog. Anyway, several weeks ago the IRS stopped sending out both the CP80 Notices and the instructions to send duplicate tax returns.
Meanwhile, legislators and tax professionals pushed the IRS to be more helpful, with recommendations for the IRS to pause automated collections until at least 90 days after the tax deadline on April 18 (extended beyond April 15 this year because of a weekend — Woohoo!). Will such a good idea become law in time? Will IRS take the initiative to manage their mess better and sooner, for the sake of customer service? Nobody knows yet, but lots of people are talking about it.
Have you received an erroneous or questionable notice from IRS? Or maybe even a valid one? Either way, you’ll need to deal with it. No matter what the level of disorganization at IRS, or how long they take to catch up with your tax returns and tax payments — the burden of timeliness and honesty in your reporting and paying is still always on YOU.
You’re the one who will be penalized when the government figures out if you filed late, or deliberately fudged on what you owed and what you paid.
Baum CPA can help you with IRS problem resolution. We will call IRS for you — and wait on hold for 3 hours — just to make the IRS answer our questions about your issues and your paperwork. And we will call them back, even when they hang up after making us hold for all that time. Baum CPA is in your corner. Wouldn’t you like to bring us your IRS problems? Just click here for a free consultation today.
Sometimes the Government Really Is Here to Help!
Meanwhile, decisions were made during February to suspend several types of other specific notices — so hopefully for the rest of the present tax season fewer taxpayers will be menaced by erroneous threats based on the unprocessed backlog of paperwork at IRS. Even the electronic filings qualify as “paperwork,” and outdated technology remains a big part of how the problem got so bad in recent years. Seriously, with all of the presumed automation, why should a reduced workforce at IRS cause such a huge pile of unattended business processing?
But never mind that deeper rant. Here’s the good news: IRS has published a list of a dozen or more different automated notices you are not likely to receive for awhile — notices that complain about balances due, unfiled returns and other presumed deficiencies. If you want to see what’s not headed to your mailbox right now, look at this link. But none of these changes really change what’s still required in the next few days or weeks.
To avoid bigger issues and problems, be sure to go ahead and file your required tax returns on time. And pay the taxes you owe, on time.
Business and partnership tax returns are due next week (March 15). Personal tax returns (which may also include home-based small business, side gigs, and sole proprietorships on Schedules C & E) are not due until April 18 — which is still less than 6 weeks away! Want some help getting your tax returns together in time? Or maybe some help to file for an extension in time? Extensions filed late cost extra in penalties. Taxes paid late cost extra even with a prearranged extension. But there is still time right now to reduce your damages, and keep YOU from suffering the increased headaches of a business or personal tax paperwork logjam!
Closer within reach than Uncle Sam — Baum CPA is really here to help, too! And we’re just a click away. Schedule your FREE appointment with Baum CPA right now — and let us help you get organized and in control of your business and personal tax preparation backlog!
This blog and its authors provide this content strictly for informational purposes. No content herein should be misconstrued as financial advice. Everyone’s specific circumstances vary — Always consult with a qualified, licensed financial advisor, legal counsel, and tax professional before venturing into any investment or business activities.