Mar 14 2022
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) joined Sens. Bob Menedez (D-NJ), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and a bipartisan, bicameral group of colleagues in a letter to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig urging the IRS to provide much needed relief as the agency struggles to address customer service and processing issues. The IRS’s lack of action is causing unnecessary confusion, as the current tax filing season is underway.
“We remain concerned that the IRS does not have a comprehensive plan to remedy the numerous problems affecting taxpayers, despite the fact that this filing season is already well underway,” the lawmakers wrote. “For example, there is continued confusion about which notices may be unilaterally suspended by the IRS, beyond the notices the IRS has already suspended, among other issues.”
In the letter, the lawmakers requested the IRS specifically address which notices are statutorily required to be issued within a specific time, and explain why there are still certain notices that have not yet been suspended.
This letter is supported by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), Padgett Business Services, National Association of Enrolled Agents (NAEA), National Association of Tax Professionals (NATP), National Society of Accountants (NSA), National Conference of CPA Practitioners (NCCPAP), National Association of Black Accountants, Inc. (NABA), Latino Tax Pro, Diverse Organization of Firms Advocacy Committee , National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPA), Prosperity Now, and National Society of Tax Professionals (NSTP).
Sen. Warner first raised concerns over the IRS backlog in January, calling on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Commissioner Rettig to quickly address reports of unprocessed tax returns for the 2020 filing season. Later that month, Sens. Warner and Kaine called on the IRS to provide relief for taxpayers amidst the backlog. Last month, Sen. Warner continued his push to reduce delays, joining colleagues in another letter to Commissioner Rettig urging for immediate action to be taken to reduce backlogs and improve customer service during the 2022 filing season. Additionally, in a February Senate Finance Committee hearing, Sen. Warner questioned IRS National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins about the IRS backlogs and about the measures being taken to address the situation.
In addition to Sens. Warner, Kaine, Menendez and Cassidy, the Senate letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), Richard Burr (R-NC), Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), James Lankford (R-OK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Thune (R-SD), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Todd Young (R-IN).
A copy of the Senate version of the letter is available here and below.
Dear Commissioner Rettig,
We appreciate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’s ongoing efforts to eliminate the unprecedented backlog at the IRS. We remain concerned that the IRS does not have a comprehensive plan to remedy the numerous problems affecting taxpayers, despite the fact that this filing season is already well underway. For example, there is continued confusion about which notices may be unilaterally suspended by the IRS, beyond the notices the IRS h as already suspended, among other issues.
Given that the IRS has not provided us with any additional information since your last correspondence dated February 8, 2022, we ask for responses to the following questions, no later than the close of business on Monday, March 14, 2022:
1. Which remaining unsuspended notices does the IRS have the authority to suspend? Please explain why the IRS has left these remaining notices unsuspended.
2. Is the IRS in the process of working to suspend additional notices? If so, when will that work be completed?
3. Which notices are statutorily required to be issued within a specific time? Would the IRS suspend these statutory notices if the IRS had the legal authority to do so?
4. Explain why the IRS has not suspended notice CP2000, Notice of Underreported Income?
5. Notwithstanding the publication of Notice 2021-39, widespread controversy surrounding Schedules K-2 and K-3 remains, including recent additional instructions, the inability to electronically file, and lingering uncertainty surrounding many requirements. As such, is the IRS contemplating relief, such as delaying implementation to 2023?
6. In early February, the IRS advised Congress that it was considering a systemic process to identify pending penalty abatement requests, and likewise evaluating penalty relief options. Has the IRS determined if it can provide penalty relief for taxpayers as previously offered by the IRS for the 2020 and 2021 tax year? If not, why not?
Thank you for your continued attention to this important matter.