Making Federal Payments to the IRS – Past, Present and Future

In times past, mailing a tax payment to the IRS was reliable and simple.  Due to recent changes at the United States Postal Service, a large majority of mail is unprocessed and backlogged throughout the country. Coupled with delays caused by the ongoing COVID pandemic, the IRS has been unable to process many 2019 tax payments.

As a taxpayer, you may have mailed paper checks for tax obligations that were due on July 15, 2020. The IRS is experiencing severe delays in processing paper checks. Recent tales tell of tractor trailers full of unprocessed mail around the country.  If your check is part of the backlogged mail, you may have received a notice for failure to pay. The most recent of these notices was dated August 17, 2020.

Do not be alarmed if you received a failure to pay notice from the IRS. If you know that your paper check was mailed in a timely manner, you will not be found at fault once the check is processed.

If you do receive a notice for a balance due, the IRS asks that you not stop payment on the original check. Your check will be processed by the IRS as soon as possible using the date on which it was received. We recommend that you do not stop payment and do not send a new, replacement check because you may be charged penalties and interest for a now “late” payment.

If you continue to receive a balance due notice, we advise you to contact the IRS directly regarding this issue. For more information on how the IRS is handling operations during the pandemic, please click here.

For future payments to the IRS, we highly recommend that you sign up to use the federal electronic payment system in order to avoid mail and processing delays with paper checks. The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System® is provided free of charge by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and is available for use by individuals, businesses, government agencies, payroll services and tax professionals. Please click here to access the electronic payment website.  Using this system will enable you to schedule payments in advance, avoid the delays of our national postal system, and stop relying on the manual processing of tax payments by IRS service centers crippled by the COVID pandemic.  

In addition to EFTPS, you are able to initiate electronic payments by letting your CPA know when preparing your personal income tax returns.  However, sometimes circumstances dictate payments outside of when you are filing a tax return.  

We appreciate your continued trust in our firm. As always, we encourage you to reach out to your HeimLantz advisor with questions and concerns.

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