IRS Backlog Due to COVID Affects Tax Services and Stimulus Checks

Did you mail a tax payment months ago and are concerned it’s gotten lost?

Did you receive a late notice for a tax payment you know you mailed on time?

Are you wondering what happened to your COVID relief stimulus check?

You’re not alone! COVID-19 has affected the day-to-day operations of the IRS just as it’s affected our lives at a more personal level. During the height of the pandemic, the IRS took measures to protect the health and safety of the public and of IRS employees the same as many of our own employers, schools, and other services did. Telephone assistance, tax services, processing of paper returns, and answering correspondence were all impacted by stay-at-home orders.

While health and safety are paramount, the result was a backlog of paper returns, payments, and other correspondence in the IRS mailrooms – and a great deal of anxiety for the public wondering about payments, penalties, and services.

Don’t worry! Now, as the country slowly returns to some kind of normal, the IRS is also taking steps to ensure the backlog is caught up as soon as possible and that the public is not penalized because the IRS couldn’t open its mail.

Does the IRS backlog due to COVID affect me? 

If you’re expecting a check or correspondence from the IRS, or if you’ve mailed a check or other information to the IRS, you may already be affected. Some of the services affected by the COVID backlog include:

  • Inbound and outgoing mail processing of:
  • Tax returns
  • Payments sent and received
  • Any correspondence with IRS
  • Notices of payments due
  • Late notices 

How is the IRS handling backlogged documents? 

The IRS knows this situation was out of your control. You will not be penalized for documents that appear to be late due to the backlog: 

  • Payments you sent – Payments may have reached the IRS on time, but not opened on time due to stay-at-home orders. The IRS will honor the date they received the payment, instead of the late date it was actually opened and processed. 
  • Payment due notices – The IRS has temporarily stopped sending payment due notices until the backlog is caught up, but you may have received one before notices were stopped. It may not be accurate.
  • Late notices – Late notices are automatically generated when payments aren’t processed. If you received one, don’t assume your check was lost. Don’t cancel your check; give the IRS time to get caught up. 
  • Tax Services – If you filed a paper tax return, it may not have been processed yet. Don’t assume it was lost and file again. Tax returns will be processed in the order they were received. If you haven’t filed yet, file electronically if possible. 

What if I never received a stimulus check?

If you haven’t received your Economic Impact Payment (otherwise known as the stimulus check) you can check your status on the IRS Get My Payment web page. The web page can help you figure out your status, type of payment, and if you meet the requirements to receive the stimulus check. 

What should I do if I’m affected?

If you’re concerned about a paper payment, your tax return, or correspondence you mailed or received during this pandemic, you might be tempted to call the IRS immediately. We recommend you wait. Call volumes are very high right now as many others are in the same boat and are calling with their concerns. Rest assured that the IRS is working to get all the mail opened and processed, and all taxpayer accounts updated.

As the country moves forward into the new normal, the IRS will continue to assess and respond to the impact that COVID has on taxpayers and on the health and safety of its employees.

Amador Accounting Can Help

Working with the IRS can seem complicated and intimidating at times. It doesn’t have to be! Amador Accounting is here to help. If you are experiencing issues with the IRS related to COVID, or if you have questions about how COVID may have affected your status with the IRS, contact Lisa for help.