While some voluntary tax preparation centers operate with reduced capacity, most remain closed until further notice. Taxpayer assistance centers are closed on federal holidays. The IRS is transmitting certifications of seriously delinquent tax debts to the Department of State in accordance with its normal procedures. Beginning March 24, the IRS recommends taxpayers and professionals to call their local TAS office directly.
A broader IRS shutdown would give the agency time to clean up all facilities and prepare to bring back essential employees to issue taxpayer refunds and stimulus checks, as needed. However, a notice on the IRS website states: In response to the national emergency and to protect our employees, U.S. taxpayers, communities and our partners, the IRS has temporarily closed all taxpayer assistance centers and has discontinued in-person service across the country until new notice. Currently, the TAS remains open for phone calls at the local phone numbers listed here, but due to the coronavirus, TAS is suspending walk-in services until further notice.
For more information on Social Security benefits, see Publication 915, Social Security and equivalent railroad retirement benefits. For example, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf published an executive order stating that all non-life-sustaining businesses must close their physical locations in Pennsylvania due to the COVID-19 crisis. The Tax Court recently released spring calendars setting out cases for virtual trials across the country, using Zoom for Government. The United States has 35,345 confirmed cases with cases reported in every state; only China and Italy have more confirmed cases.
Field Revenue Officers are assigned specific taxpayer cases and operate with their normal authorities. This would further help taxpayers give them additional time in light of this pandemic and would help alleviate the intense anxiety that IRS employees feel about continuing to report to work in overcrowded offices. The base return will be used to process Form 8802, rather than requiring the taxpayer to file a copy of their full return. However, Reardon is concerned that these efforts are not sufficient, stating that NTEU remains concerned about the large number of employees who continue to report working against recommended meeting sizes; the inability to establish safe social distancing in these environments; and the lack of necessary essential elements to disinfect hands and work surfaces.
The vast majority of these are pre-pandemic obligations and are considered a priority for the IRS because of the amount owed and the time taxpayers have been in default without working with the IRS to resolve their debts. The online tool for submitting forms 2848 and 8821 allows authorizations for forms 2848 and 8821 containing electronic signatures to be securely uploaded online, but still requires manual processing.