With the IRS still struggling to handle the overload of requests from taxpayers, there remains confusion on just about all fronts a year into the pandemic.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL – The IRS recently announced that it had finally opened the nearly 24 million pieces of mail that had been on backlog due to a decrease in available staff since the beginning of the pandemic. One might think that forward progress like that should or would indicate that the IRS is becoming more responsive to taxpayers, but that is sadly not the truth. Thankfully they have extended the filing deadline from April 15 to May 17th in order for Americans to have more time to gather their information and file their taxes.
But if the past tells us anything about the IRS… will this mean they will be better equipped to actually pick up the phone and help us?
Historically, the Internal Revenue Service has long been a thorn in the side of American taxpayers, not known for their customer service or quick response times even when they are running at full speed.
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Many Americans have a deep distrust or dislike for the IRS because of this and I understand their frustrations 100%. While that anger and frustration will likely remain the rest of our lives, how can we channel that into forward progress when it comes to filing annual taxes? More specifically, what can we do in 2021 to solve whatever tax or IRS related problem we might be facing?
As a member of the Forbes Council and world-renowned tax and accounting expert, the most basic advice I can give you is to always work with a tax professional to maximize your returns and to protect you from being audited. However, there are lots of credible resources you can access online that may be able to answer your questions. For example, turbotax.com is an excellent resource for self-filers and my own free e-book to help small businesses with their 2021 tax issues can be found here.
The topics most valuable to small business include PPP loan provisions and changes to the tax code that include business meal deduction, Employee Retention Tax Credits (ERTC) and extension of certain deferred business payroll taxes.
You can always try to contact the IRS directly via telephone. That will require patience as the wait times are incredibly inconsistent and the representatives are extremely limited in what they can provide to you over the telephone, which is done to protect the integrity of your identity and financial information from getting into the wrong hands.
For those that have still not received stimulus payments and cannot get any information from the stimulus tracking system provided on the IRS’ website, hiring a tax professional is the quickest way to find out what went wrong and secure your relief funds.
All in all, we have to remember that the IRS still has a backlog of requests and paperwork. This will likely remain the case for the time being. Instead of getting frustrated and throwing your hands up in the air, take control. Do your own research, contact a professional and demand the change you need to see in order to solve your problem.