Tax Agency Hasn’t Processed Thousands of Checks Mailed to Pay Taxes
You owed taxes, so you mailed in your check along with the voucher. So why has the IRS now sent you a tax notice? And why are they charging you penalties and interest, too? Could it be that our beloved and infallible Internal Revenue Service has made a mistake?
Well, yes. But they have an excuse. And it’s not that the dog ate the envelope.
The problem stems from the pandemic, which shut down IRS service centers from March 13 to June 30. The service centers received about a million pieces of mail a week during that time, including your payment. But no one was there to open the envelope. So the IRS hasn’t processed untold thousand of payments.
It Gets Worse
Making things worse? The automated computer billing service came back online first. And to make up for lost time, it started sending tax bills out at a greater clip than usual. The process is fully automatic: The first notice comes, then a second four weeks later. By the third letter, the IRS gets scary, reminding you they can lien, levy and seize what they want to get their payment.
Making things even worse yet, you can’t ignore these notices. If you just sit back and wait, the process can continue on to collections. By the time a human gets involved, It can be much more difficult to resolve. The best course is to call the phone number at the top of the IRS letter. Prepare to be on hold. When you get through, explain your situation. The customer service representative will likely put a hold on any more notices until the situation gets resolved.
The IRS is aware of the tax notice problem. They say do NOT cancel a check to IRS that hasn’t been cashed. When it does finally go through, you may be hit with penalties and interest for non-payment, plus bad check fees. The agency says they will note the payment at the time when they received it, rather than the delayed date when it was processed.
Just don’t blame the dog.
The IRS has a page with information about letters and notices, how to interpret them, and what you can do.
The Forbes website has this report on the situation.
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