IRS to suspend tax balance due notices amid mail backlog

Some people’s checks may still be unopened as the agency works through mail pile-up

The IRS announced it will temporarily stop sending past-due balance notices to taxpayers until it makes some headway opening a massive backlog of mail.

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The agency issued a notice that it will suspend three specific follow-up mailings that are usually automatically sent to people with a balance due on their taxes.

“Although the IRS continues to make significant reductions in the backlog of unopened mail that developed while most IRS operations were closed due to COVID-19, this temporary adjustment to processing is intended to lessen any possible confusion that might be associated with delays in processing correspondence received from taxpayers,” the agency said in a statement.

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The IRS will resume the mailings once it has determined that it has made sufficient progress getting through the accumulation of mail.

The agency recently cautioned people whose checks have yet to be cashed that they may still be opened.

The IRS issued guidance that any payments will be posted on the date they were received rather than the date they were processed that means you will not be on the hook for penalties and interest so long as your tax payment was submitted by this year's extended deadline.

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Do not cancel the check and ensure sufficient funds are available so that the payment can be processed.

And if you still need to submit a payment or a return, the IRS is urging individuals to do so electronically.

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The agency said it would provide relief from bad check penalties for dishonored checks received between March 1 and July 15 due to processing delays – but interest and penalties may still apply.

The IRS stopped processing paper returns at the end of March as it began adjusting operations in order to keep employees safe and to comply with coronavirus-related social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.

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