We wrote yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance to taxpayers and practitioners about how the agency’s resumption of activities this week following the government shutdown is impacting pending matters, such as audits, collection cases, and Tax Court cases. With respect to pending audits, the IRS has published helpful Frequently Asked Questions (entitled “Exam Resumption FAQs“) about a variety of issues impacted by the shutdown. The text of those FAQs follows:
IRS employees returned to work on January 28, 2019 and resumed activities. Upon their return to the office, they will begin to review mail, voice messages, and their audit and collection files as well as completing administrative tasks to reopen operations.
1. I sent documents to my auditor but have not heard back. What should I do?
Your auditor will be reviewing mail they have received and will reach out to you to re-establish contact. It may take several business days before your auditor is able to make contact.
2. I planned on sending material to my auditor but did not do so since the government was shut down. What should I do now?
If you have assembled the material requested, you can immediately send the material to your auditor. You may call your auditor to discuss any items on your document request if you need clarification. Your auditor will also be reaching out to you to re-establish contact in the next several business days. During this contact, your auditor will be able to answer questions you have and will address the timeframe on when the requested information is due.
3. I sent my signed audit report and a check to my auditor during the shutdown. How do I know if they were received?
Once your auditor has completed their initial review of their inventory and associated mail received with each audit, the auditor will reach out to you to confirm that they received your agreement and check.
4. How soon will examinations resume?
Once auditors have reviewed mail, voice messages, the status of their assigned inventory and completed administrative tasks to restart operations, they will begin to re-establish contact. This process will take several business days to complete.
5. My audit appointment was cancelled prior to the shutdown. When will it be rescheduled?
After completing the assessment of their assigned inventory, your examiner will reach out to you to reschedule your appointment. It will take several business days before your auditor is able to reach out to their assigned taxpayers.
6. My audit appointment was scheduled for one of the days when the government was shutdown. I have not heard from my auditor. What should I do?
Since your auditor was furloughed during the shutdown, they were prohibited from performing their duties. Once your auditor has completed a review of their inventory, they will reach out to you to reschedule your appointment. This process will take several business days to complete.
7. I left a message for my auditor but have not received a call back.
Since your auditor was furloughed during the shutdown, they were prohibited from performing their duties. Upon their return, your auditor will assess the status of their inventory. Your auditor will retrieve their messages and return calls, but it may take several business days before he or she is able to reach out.
8. When can I call my auditor to discuss my audit?
Each auditor will reach out to their assigned taxpayers after they review and assess the status of their assigned inventory. This may take several days. In the meantime, you can reach out to your auditor during normal business hours.
9. I received an audit report from my auditor giving me 10 days to respond. I was unable to respond due to the shutdown. How should I proceed?
If you have additional information, you should send the information to your auditor or call them to discuss options. If you agree with the report, you can sign the report and return it to your auditor. Your auditor will also be reaching out to you to re-establish contact before they take additional actions on your case. At that time, they will discuss any information still needed. It will take a number of days for your auditor to contact all of their assigned taxpayers.
10. I received a 30-day letter asking for my position on audit issues. Will the time limit be extended due to the shutdown?
If you are unable to meet the original due date, you may contact your assigned auditor to discuss options. Your auditor will also be reaching out to you to re-establish contact before taking additional actions on your case.
11. I received a Statutory Notice of Deficiency during the shutdown. What should I do?
On cases where the statute of limitations was nearing expiration, the IRS issued a Statutory Notice of Deficiency to protect the government’s interest. If you received a Notice, you have 90 days to petition the Tax Court if you want to protest the adjustments. If you agree with the adjustments in the report, you can sign and return the report. If you feel you received the Notice in error, you should contact the person listed on the letter or your assigned auditor.
12. I filed a petition with the Tax Court during the government shutdown. What happens next?
We recognize it will take time for the Tax Court to work through its backlog of petitions needed to be served on the IRS. The IRS will only make assessments when the legal assessment period (statute of limitation) is near expiration. For cases in which the legal assessment period (statute of limitation) is not nearing its expiration, the IRS will delay defaulting those Notices and making assessments for the period in which the Tax Court needs to work through its backlog of petition.
13. I received a Form 872, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax, from my auditor. It was mailed prior to the shutdown, but I received it after the shutdown started. What are my options?
The Form 872, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Tax, was solicited to allow additional time for you and your auditor to address issues still open on your exam. Included with Form 872 you also received Publication 1035. Publication 1035 provides guidance and explains your options. If you have additional questions beyond those in the publication, you should contact your assigned auditor. Your auditor will also be reaching out to you to discuss the process, but this may take several business days to accomplish.
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