If you have a tax issue that you want to discuss with the Internal Revenue Service in person, there's good news.
In late June, the IRS started reopening its Taxpayer Assistance Centers (TACs) across the country. By next week, all the facilities should be open.
While the IRS encourages taxpayers to take advantage of its online problem solving and information gathering options, TAC employees still provide certain tax-related services.
Specialized TAC services include assistance in:
- authenticating a taxpayer's identity and validating documents related to tax return filings or applications for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN);
- issuing travel permits, still antiquatedly referred to as Sailing Clearances, that resident and non-resident aliens leaving the United States are required to obtain;
- resolving issues regarding COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments; and
- paying due taxes in cash.
Appointments only, please: The usual TAC services soon will be available again nationwide, but be prepared for some process changes.
Most TACs, even before the pandemic hit, already were operating on an appointment-only basis. Such planning is even more critical in this time of coronavirus.
You can see if your local assistance center is open and if so, it's hours of operation in which you can arrange a meeting by using the IRS' online TAC locator tool.
When I punched in my Zip Code, I was shown the nearest Austin office. However, when I clicked on hours or operation, I was redirected to a general Texas TAC page.
Since the page listing is alphabetical, I didn't have to scroll very far to find the info I wanted. I also saw the Austin TAC's main telephone number. That's what I'd call if I had a basic question.
It's a good idea to give your local TAC a ring at its main number first, regardless of your tax issue. You might be able to resolve it without having to head to the IRS office.
If you do need to make an appointment to come into a TAC, then call toll-free 1 (844) 545-5640 to schedule your meeting. It's the same number for everyone regardless of where you live or the location of your nearest TAC.
In-person precautions: Once you arrive for your scheduled TAC appointment, social distancing will be employed.
This includes not only the 6-feet-apart mandate, but also the wearing of a face mask, as noted on the TAC location pages.
Such TAC and general IRS continuing coronavirus precautions were cited by IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig when he addressed a virtual IRS Tax Forum earlier this week.
In addition to saying all TACs should be open by July 31, Tax Notes reports that Rettig also told the attendees that the IRS will continue to monitor the number of coronavirus cases in the cities where the assistance centers are located and "adjust our facilities accordingly."
If a TAC area encounters a spike in COVID-19 cases, Rettig said the agency likely would further limit access to that center or close the office again.
You also might find these items of interest:
- 6 ways to get electronic tax help from the IRS
- More online tax settlement days set for LA, DC & Atlanta
- IRS calling workers back to offices, even as COVID-19 surges
|Coronavirus Caveat & More Information
In 2020, we're all dealing with extraordinary circumstances,
both in our daily lives and when it comes to our taxes.
The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to reduce its transmission
and protect ourselves and our families means that,
for the most part, we're focusing on just getting through these trying days.
But life as we knew it before the coronavirus will return,
along with our mundane tax matters.
Here's hoping that happens soon!
In the meantime, you can find more on the virus and its effects on our taxes
by clicking Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Taxes.