IRS offers new COVID-19 relief

The IRS has announced new relief options to help taxpayers affected by COVID-19.

"At the IRS, we recognize these are challenging times for everyone, and we understand that many Americans still face COVID-19-related hardships," said Darren Guillot, the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Deputy Commissioner for Collection and Operations Support. "I'm from Louisiana originally, and I know this has been a difficult year in many states dealing with both COVID-19 and natural disasters. In times like these, dealing with tax issues can be tough.  And, we want people to know our employees are committed to continue helping taxpayers wherever possible, including offering many options for those struggling to pay their tax bills."

 “We’re offering a wide range of taxpayer relief options. Our three main goals to help taxpayers are.

First, we want to do everything we can under existing rules for immediate, broad-based relief from unpaid liabilities resulting from COVID-19 issues, including those affected by IRS mail processing and correspondence delays.

Second, we'll remove bureaucratic barriers and expand flexibilities to all taxpayers whose financial condition has been affected by COVID-19. This includes those still facing longstanding tax issues.

And third, we’ll balance the relief provided against the need to uphold the nation’s tax laws. We’ll make sure we have adequate resources available to work complex cases or address egregious non-compliance. And we’ll work to secure the government’s interests in the event of future bankruptcies to uphold the laws and help ensure fairness in the tax system.” Guillot said.

I had the opportunity to meet Darren and work together to resolve one of my client’s tax issues and was very impressed with his concern for taxpayers’ rights.

The IRS’s new initiatives will help in several ways.

Reasonable cause assistance for failure to file, failure to pay, and failure to deposit penalties.

              For individual taxpayers receiving notices with tax liabilities up to $250,000 for Tax Year 2019 only, you can set up an Installment Agreement with no lien filed.

The IRS is extending the short-term payment plan timeframe to 180 days, which is normally 120 days.

The IRS is easing paperwork requirements to allow individuals to get Installment Agreements up to $250,000 without financial verification if the case is not yet assigned to a revenue officer. Consequently, it is in your best interest to set up an Installment Agreement as soon as possible to avoid having your case sent to a revenue officer.

Extend guidance to automatically include new tax year balances accrued in existing Installment Agreements (Individuals and Out of Business entities only).

The IRS will provide relief for taxpayers having difficulty meeting the terms of previously accepted offers.

If you have questions about your options for paying your taxes, it’s important that you do not ignore IRS letters. Your problems won’t get better with time. Dealing with the IRs can be intimidating, but the employees are there to help you.

David Zubler is a tax accountant and Enrolled Agent representing clients before the IRS with over 25 years of tax experience. He is the author of four tax books and is the founder and president of Your Tax Care. The company provides business and tax education to the public at its website, David can also be contacted by email at