(This is a live article that is updated regularly) As the Coronavirus impact widens we are already seeing major hits to the real economy that will take the US into a recession in 2020 and into 2021. While stock markets are falling rapidly (don’t panic and sell!) people should start expecting governments to focus on battling this deadly virus. In fact Congress and the Administration have already passed a massive stimulus package, unemployment insurance extensions/boosts and additional stimulus payments. However because of these new Coronavirus relief programs and enforced staffing constraints it is also likely major government agencies, like the IRS, will shift focus and resources to execute on these programs to battle the fallout from the spread of the virus.
In fact the IRS recently announced it has stopped processing paper tax returns, with much of its staff now working remotely because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The IRS has recommended that taxpayers file their taxes electronically during the three-month extension (to July 15th, 2020) period for this year’s tax season. Congress is also discussing a further postponement of the tax deadline into October!
Further in compliance with federal mandates IRS live assistance on telephones and responding to correspondence were essentially suspended until further notice. All of the IRS’s in-person Taxpayer Assistance centers have also been temporarily closed along with many volunteer tax preparation sites until further notice. The IRS has said however they will prioritze and keep paying out the stimulus check payments to the 100 million or so Americans eligible for them.
The above IRS closures will most certainly mean slower processing times for tax refunds, especially those with more complicated tax filing situations or where they experienced delays in prior years. While this was not officially stated on the IRS site, I cannot imagine that the IRS will get things done on time. The hundreds of comments on this article and related ones confirm this.
The IRS has announced, under the national emergency provision, that they will postpone the April 15 tax-payment deadline for millions of individuals, giving Americans an additional 90 days to pay their 2019 income-tax bills in an unprecedented move intended to ease the economic pain inflicted by the Coronavirus. The delay is available to people who owe $1 million or less. This push may also affect 2019 tax refund payments. The latest data from the IRS shows almost 60 million tax returns have been filed with refunds averaging $3,064. A Treasury Department spokesperson has said that there are currently no delays at this point, but is a fluid situation. Note – the IRS has temporarily closed all Taxpayer Assistance Centers and discontinued face-to-face service throughout the country until further notice. The IRS is continuing to process tax returns, issue refunds and help taxpayers to the greatest extentSource : IRS
Leave a comment with your thoughts on this topic if you are seeing delays in getting your refund.