Coronavirus safety concerns at IRS refund processing offices has forced the IRS to limit the amount of employees at the offices it dedicates to processing taxpayer refunds. The IRS is taking several steps due to the fears and concerns of its employees regarding the coronavirus outbreak, including eliminating in-person visits at taxpayer assistance centers and cutting the staff numbers at return processing centers by 50%. This cut in “on site” personnel was a response to requests by the IRS employees, who have become concerned about working in such close proximity to other employees (apparently a typical IRS processing center has employee cubicles jammed next to each other). Further updates have suggested the IRS is trying to adjust to allow its employees to work from home as much as possible.
In addition, speaking on the phone with IRS representatives is not currently possible as the IRS has temporarily suspended phone communications. This includes IRS representatives at the ITIN center in Austin, Texas, and IRS representatives (some of whom we at DIRECTS have gotten to know fairly well) at the IRS FIRPTA Unit in Ogden, Utah. Both facilities appear to be continuing to operate, although likely with less speed and efficiency because of the on-site employee limitations.
What Will These Changes Mean in Terms of Waiting Times for the Sizable Non-US Seller of US Real Estate Tax Refunds?