The majority of taxpayers send checks to IRS via a collection and processing service lockbox that is administered by financial institutions. When payments and tax returns are sent to IRS Service Centers, those returns and payments are processed by center employees. These Service Centers were shut down between March 13 and June 30. During the COVID-19 related shut down, mail receive would not have been open, but stored until employees returned to these Service Centers. IRS estimates each Service Center receive approximately one million piece of mail per week during that period of time.

While the Service Center may have been closed, the IRS computers and collection billing system are fully automated and programmed to process even though returns, payments and correspondence has not been entered into the system.

If a taxpayer mailed a check, it may be unopened in the backlog of mail the IRS is processing due to the COVID-19 shutdown. If you receive a notice, even if incorrect, it is advisable to contact IRS to notate the account and place a hold on the collection action. Even if the notice is incorrect, the automated collection system will still see your account as delinquent until records are updated for the unopened mail. This may lead to additional assessments and collection actions issued by the computer system which will need to be addressed.

October 28, 2020 2:46 pm