The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), like many offices throughout the world, cut back on operations as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic. This reduction in in-house workforce had a direct impact on taxes. Some beneficial, like the extended July 15 tax deadline, others potentially detrimental, like the agency sending out mailings with defunct deadlines.

What is the problem with defunct deadlines?

Mailings from the IRS generally require the taxpayer to act before a given deadline. A failure to act within the set-out time period can result in additional penalties. It appears the IRS had thousands of mailings that were set to go out before the agency cut back hours earlier this year. When it reopens operations in coming days, it has stated it will send out these old mailings. As a result, many of the deadlines set within the mailings have already passed.

What does this mean for taxpayers?

The IRS has extended deadlines, but taxpayers are wise to keep the envelope and letter explaining the extension. This will provide valuable evidence in the event the IRS attempts to push back and state the taxpayer was late in responding to the notification. The IRS business records themselves are likely inaccurate. This makes it even more important for taxpayers to keep evidence that shows the agency sent the mailing late.

What should taxpayers do if they receive a mailing with a deadline that has already passed?

Do not panic. Do not worry that you are already late and too much time has passed to question claims made by the agency. You have the right to question the agency’s claims and fight back. The attorneys at Goldburd McCone are experienced in correspondence tax audits such as these and can review the mailing, discuss your options and help better ensure your rights are protected even in these most unprecedented times.