Kelly Bullis: IRS gets nice; don’t get used to it |

Kelly Bullis: IRS gets nice; don’t get used to it

By Kelly J. Bullis

One of the “benefits” of this COVID crisis is a nicer IRS. I know, you’re saying, “Kelly! Are you kidding me? It’s not in the IRS’ genes to be nice.” Well, maybe President Trump is forcing them to be nice, but in either case, at least for now, we can enjoy a “friendly” IRS.

Here are some of the things the IRS is doing right now to make it easier for folks suffering financial hardships due to the COVID disaster.

If you currently are paying the IRS on an existing installment agreement, owe a balance by a certain date under an Offer In Compromise arrangement, owe a prior tax lien or levy, have been notified by a private debt collector on behalf of the IRS, or are in the middle of a field-office-correspondence audit, you are in luck. The IRS will temporarily hold off on any collection efforts for these. This doesn’t relieve you of owing them, but if you don’t or can’t pay on time, they will not send the goon squad out to break your thumbs.

Of course, expect the IRS to still protect it’s position of collectability regarding possible expiring statute of limitations, but otherwise, if you tell them you are having a financial hardship, be prepared to hear a “friendly” IRS agent say something like, “We understand. It’s OK to delay your payment until you are in a better financial position to pay.”

Now in all my 40-plus years in this business, I have NEVER heard any IRS agent say something like that! I’m stealing myself against the day, sometime in the future, when the “old familiar” IRS will return and get nasty again. In the meantime, it has been darn right pleasant dealing with the IRS personnel on the phone right now. (They will not meet in person due to the COVID fears, but you can get them on the phone.)

So, what do you do if you are having trouble paying the IRS? Give them a call. Their phone number is on all their correspondence. You may still have to be on hold for an hour, but when you get a live person, make sure you’re sitting down, because their friendliness is going to catch you by surprise. Right now, you can get just about any payment arrangement you ask for, no questions asked.

Have you heard? Psalm 28:6 says, “Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.”

Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at Also on Facebook.