The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced on March 25, 2020, an extensive series of steps to help taxpayers on a number of issues, including easing payment guidelines and postponing compliance actions, through the enactment of the People First Initiative.

People First Initiative

The People First Initiative is designed to help people facing uncertainty over taxes and is expected to take effect April 1 and run through July 15. Below are some of the notable aspects (for the complete list, click here):

  • Installment Agreements. Payments due under existing Installment Agreements between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended, and no defaults will be issued; however by law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances. New Installment Agreements may be entered into for those taxpayers unable to fully pay their federal taxes/outstanding liabilities.
  • Offers in Compromise (“OIC”). Taxpayers will have until July 15 to provide requested additional information to support a pending OIC application. Additionally, the IRS will not close any pending OIC request before July 15, without the taxpayer’s consent. Taxpayers also have the option to suspend all payments on accepted OICs until July 15, 2020 (interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances).
  • Field Collection Activities. Liens and levies (including any seizures of a personal residence) initiated by field revenue officers will be suspended. However, field revenue officers will continue to pursue high-income non-filers and perform other similar activities where warranted. New automatic, systemic liens and levies will also be suspended during this period.
  • Private Debt Collection. New delinquent accounts will not be forwarded by the IRS to private collection agencies to work during this period.
  • In-Person Meetings. In-person meetings will be suspended and examinations will be conducted remotely, where possible.
  • Earned Income Tax Credit (“EITC”) and Wage Verification Reviews. Taxpayers have until July 15, 2020 to respond to the IRS with respect to the qualification of the EITC and/or verify their income.  In the meantime, the IRS will not deny these credits for failure to provide the requested information.
  • Tax Returns. The IRS has consistently stressed to taxpayers to file all current and previous year tax returns, as quickly as possible.

The IRS will also continue to review and potentially modify the People First Initiative, based on feedback they receive.

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates as they become available.