Remember that backlog of unopened IRS correspondence? The agency is taking another step towards offering taxpayers an alternative to adding to the pile: taxpayers who receive specific notices requiring them to send information to the IRS now have the option of submitting their documentation online through IRS.gov.
How bad is the backlog? According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, the IRS had 29 million tax returns and correspondence at the end of the last filing season. Weeks before the start of the current tax season—as of Dec. 9, 2022—the IRS still had about 5.1 million pieces of taxpayer correspondence and Accounts Management cases (excluding amended returns) as well as 2.6 million paper tax returns and an additional 1.5 million amended returns to process.
The result? Frustrated taxpayers. The IRS believes that this new process could change that.
Previously, taxpayers and their tax professionals had a handful of options for responding to IRS notices—phone calls, letters, or faxes. (Yes, the IRS still uses faxes, but not email, for correspondence.)
Now, the IRS will allow taxpayers and tax professionals to upload documents electronically. Initially, the online correspondence feature will be available to taxpayers who receive one of nine IRS notices:
- CP04, relating to combat zone status.
- CP05A, information request related to a refund.
- CP06 and CP06A, relating to the Premium Tax Credit.
- CP08, relating to the Child Tax Credit.
- CP09, relating to claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit.
- CP75, relating to the EITC.
- CP75a, relating to the EITC.
- CP75d, relating to the EITC and other credits.
Taxpayers who receive these notices can respond securely to IRS online, even if they don’t have an IRS Online Account.
How You’ll Know
If your notice is on the list, the IRS will include language in your mailing that says, “Send us your documents using the Documentation Upload Tool within 30 days from the date of this notice.” The notice will include a link and unique access code.
You can open the link in any browser and input your unique code, name, and Social Security, Individual Taxpayer Identification, or Employee Identification number. Then, you can securely upload scans, photos, or digital copies of documents—a maximum of 15MB per file, up to 40 files. You’ll receive a confirmation that the IRS received your documents.
Once the documents are uploaded, the IRS representative who is working your case will be able to respond to you.
The IRS estimates that more than 500,000 taxpayers receive these notices each year.
“This capability is another step forward by the IRS to help taxpayers and improve service,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Doug O’Donnell. “This provides immediate benefits to taxpayers, who have nearly instant confirmation that documents were received by the IRS. In turn, this will dramatically speed up the resolution of issues by removing a time-consuming step in the process. This means people can have their issues resolved much faster, including getting refunds to affected taxpayers faster.”
The IRS plans to expand the program to include other notices. In addition, the IRS will offer the opportunity to use digital correspondence on various other taxpayer interactions. During live interactions such as phone calls with taxpayers, IRS employees will be able to grant upload access by providing the link and unique access code—making it easier and faster to respond.