IRS assortment notices are coming again


For probably the most half, the Inside Income Service has been on maintain with its automated assortment exercise for the reason that starting of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. There have been transient intervals of IRS notices and enforcement to tax debtors in late 2023 for 2022 tax 12 months balances, however for probably the most half, IRS assortment enforcement has been restricted to its area assortment assets — its income officers – to gather on probably the most egregious of accounts.

Enter 2024 — and the IRS is about to get again to regular assortment exercise via its main assortment engine: the Automated Assortment System, or ACS. On Dec. 19, 2023, the IRS introduced that it might resume assortment discover exercise, and subsequent assortment enforcement, on years previous to the 2022 tax 12 months. 

The IRS assortment discover stream

Most assortment is finished via automated notices. The IRS makes use of a development of letters to taxpayers to gather on again tax debt balances. These notices are issued by the ACS and are known as the “assortment discover stream.” The primary discover is required by legislation and should be issued to a taxpayer inside 60 days after the tax is assessed. This discover known as the CP14, “Stability Due.” Taxpayers who file by the preliminary April 15 due date and don’t pay their tax invoice will often see this discover within the first week of June, earlier than the required 60-day required time restrict to ship the discover. 

Even in the course of the pandemic, the IRS was required by legislation to ship CP14 notices to taxpayers. In 2022, it despatched 9.4 million CP14s to taxpayers. In 2023, it despatched nearly 12.2 million CP14s — a 30% improve from 2022 — to particular person taxpayers who couldn’t pay their tax invoice with their filed tax return.

Taxpayers who don’t pay the quantity owed on the CP14 discover will then begin to obtain a sequence of notices earlier than the IRS “enforces” assortment via actions comparable to liens, levies, and passport restrictions. The following discover is the CP501, “Reminder Discover,” adopted by a CP503, “2nd Reminder Discover,” which usually arrives about 5 weeks after the CP501 discover. 

If the taxpayer nonetheless doesn’t pay or enter into a group settlement with the IRS (comparable to a cost plan, extension to pay, or a hardship standing comparable to not collectible standing or submitting a proposal in compromise), the IRS can ship a CP504 discover about 5 weeks later. The CP504 discover is a discover of intent to levy and places the taxpayer on discover that the IRS can levy sure funds. It additionally triggers the IRS’s capacity to take their state earnings tax refund to pay their again tax invoice.

If the taxpayer nonetheless doesn’t pay or enter into an settlement with the IRS on the balances owed, the account can proceed to assortment enforcement. The taxpayer’s delinquent account could be assigned for assortment to the ACS or to area assortment (i.e., the native IRS income officer). 

It’s most typical for a delinquent tax debtor to be assigned to the ACS. When assigned to ACS, the taxpayer can obtain a Letter LT11, “Closing Discover of Intent to Levy,” placing them on discover that the IRS will try to garnish wages or levy financial institution accounts or different earnings in 30 days. If assigned to IRS area assortment, contact could be made straight by a income officer, who would try to gather the again taxes straight from the taxpayer via their belongings and/or earnings.

In some circumstances, the IRS could determine to not implement the steadiness owed. From 2020-2023, it was frequent for the company to make the choice to not implement as ACS actions had been principally placed on maintain. The IRS had little or no assortment exercise in 2020 and 2021, and so they formally put a moratorium on its automated assortment actions in February 2022. Some taxpayers, primarily these with greater tax debt balances, payroll tax debtors, and enterprise taxpayers skilled the extra intrusive IRS Area assortment enforcement. 

Nevertheless, for probably the most half, IRS assortment notices remained low or non-existent in the course of the pandemic as a result of restricted ACS exercise:

IRS assortment discover quantity (fiscal 12 months ending Sept. 30 for 2019-2023)

Assortment discover

2019

2020

2022

2023

CP14: Stability Due Notices

8.6M

8.1M

9.4M

12.2M

CP501: Reminder Discover

2.6M

0.7M

2.4M

0

CP503: Second Reminder Discover

3.5M

1.2M

2.9M

0

CP504: Discover of Intent to Levy

5.4M

2.9M

3.9M

0

LT11: Closing Discover of Intent to Levy

469,174

530,597

81,256

0

IRS assortment enforcement exercise

The resumption of assortment notices will even imply extra IRS assortment enforcement actions. Assortment enforcement is usually tax liens and levies. In very uncommon circumstances, the IRS could seize a taxpayer’s belongings. 

All enforcement actions have been on a gradual decline over the previous decade, largely as a result of decreased IRS assortment enforcement assets. Throughout the pandemic, most tax lien and levy exercise solely occurred on account of area assortment enforcement or when taxpayers who entered into assortment agreements with the IRS that required a lien willpower. 

Passport restrictions have been restricted additionally. The IRS can certify {that a} taxpayer has “significantly delinquent tax debt” if the taxpayer has an assessed steadiness of $62,000 or better (2024 quantities, listed annually for inflation) and isn’t in an settlement on their balances owed with the IRS. As soon as licensed as having SDTD, the IRS sends Letter CP508C, “SDTD Certification,” to the taxpayer and to the State Division for potential passport restrictions. 

To certify a taxpayer as having SDTD, the taxpayer should have obtained a tax lien or levy from the IRS. With out liens or levies, IRS issuance of CP508Cs have dropped significantly, from over 100,000 in 2021 to simply beneath 60,000 in 2023.

Resumption of IRS assortment

The Dec. 19 announcement put taxpayers and their professionals on discover that the IRS will resume assortment notices and enforcement on years previous to 2022. On Jan. 30, 2024, IRS officers offered some particulars on the way it plans to restart assortment notices and enforcement.

Taxpayers who owe for 2021 and earlier years and are assigned to the Automated Assortment System will obtain IRS letter LT38, “Reminder – Discover Resumption.” This discover informs the taxpayer that the IRS will start assortment actions if they don’t get into an settlement or pay their balances owed. These notices began going out to particular person and enterprise taxpayers in January 2024. Not all taxpayers will obtain these preliminary notices, because the IRS is steadily ramping up its assortment efforts after years of inactivity.

After the LT38 discover, if the taxpayer doesn’t pay or make preparations to pay, the IRS will proceed to gather by issuing the development of assortment notices and, finally, enforcement actions on many of those taxpayers. 

The following discover, the CP501 discover, will happen 5 weeks after the LT38 discover if cost or cost preparations aren’t made. As a part of the discover resumption, the IRS will now lengthen the time interval between CP501, CP503, and CP504 notices. In previous years, these notices had been despatched about 5 weeks aside. Now, the IRS will give taxpayers and their tax professionals extra time between notices and permit eight weeks between the CP501-CP504 sequence notices. 

Heavy lifting forward for the IRS — and for taxpayers who owe

Much less IRS tax debt enforcement has had an influence on tax assortment. The variety of tax debtors has been steadily rising lately. In reality, as of Sept. 30, 2023, over 24 million particular person and enterprise taxpayers now owe again taxes, and the variety of tax debtors have grown by nearly 4 million for the reason that starting of the pandemic:

Whole variety of debtors per IRS (as of Sept. 30)

Kind

2015

2019

2022

2023

Whole debtors

18.7M

20.1M

21.7M

24M

Particular person tax debtors

15.6M

16.8M

18.3M

20M

Enterprise tax debtors

3.1M

3.3M

3.4M

4M

Whole quantity owed the IRS

$407B

$535B

$422B

$453B

The IRS’s huge drawback is that only a few taxpayers are in an settlement to pay their again balances. As of the tip of 2022, out of the 24 million people and companies who owe, solely 4.2 million or 17.5% of taxpayers are in an settlement on their again balances owed, leaving 19.8 million who aren’t in any settlement in any respect.

To make issues worse, an rising variety of taxpayers are submitting and owing the IRS. In tax season 2023, as of Sept. 30, 2023, the IRS noticed a ten% improve within the variety of taxpayers who filed with a steadiness due. Those that can’t pay begin the gathering discover stream and could also be added to the rising numbers of those that owe.

The reply for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers is to get proper with the IRS. Taxpayers might want to pay the company or enter into one of many assortment agreements with the IRS to keep away from enforcement. Most taxpayers choose a cost plan (“installment settlement”). Nevertheless, taxpayers in monetary hardship can present monetary info to the IRS proving their incapacity to pay and qualify to develop into one of many few in not collectible standing or in a settlement via the offer-in-compromise program.

As IRS enforcement restarts, inaction could depart the hundreds of thousands who owe and aren’t in an settlement with an undesirable final result: IRS enforcement via liens, levies, and passport restrictions.

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