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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Carper, senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that oversees the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) and a bipartisan, bicameral group of their colleagues in a letter that reiterates ongoing concerns and urges 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,” wrote the lawmakers to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “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 to specifically address which notices are statutorily required to be issued within a specific time, and why there are still certain notices that have not yet been suspended.

Throughout the year, both Senators Carper and Coons have joined efforts to sound the alarm of ongoing issues at the IRS, including backlogs. In late January, Carper and Coons joined Menendez, Cassidy, and a group of their colleagues calling on the IRS to provide penalty relief for taxpayers – spurring the agency to temporarily halt some, but not all of the penalty notifications. In February, Carper and Coons once again joined Menendez, Cassidy, and colleagues urging the IRS to take immediate actions to reduce its massive backlog and improve its customer service for 2022 filing season.

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).

In addition to Sens. Carper, Coons, Menendez and Cassidy, the Senate version of the letter was signed by Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The House of Representatives sent a similar letter, led by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).

Full text of the letter can be found 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 has 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. 

Sincerely,

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