IRS phone lines are back up, fax still down
I called the IRS this morning at 7 am on the Practitional Priority Line on a lark, as I got an urgent request from a client regarding a notice they received yesterday. Not expecting the call to go through, I was surprised by the response that wait times were 7-10 minutes. The agent answered at the 10-minute mark and advised me that their fax system was still down although the phones were in fact turned on yesterday Jan 22nd. We tried to send my POA via fax but as expected it failed.
During the wait for the fax failure, I had a conversation with the agent about general issues regarding the letter. I first called the IRS on Dec 20, 2 days before the shutdown. Their fax system was shut down effective Dec 22, coinciding with the government shutdown. The automated letter system is still up and running with the usual deadlines, scaring taxpayers with levy, while they are waiting for a resolution to their responses, and still wait.
My POA which was sent to the Central Authorization File (CAF) unit is probably still sitting in a pile to be added to my clients file. The response my client mailed and was received on New Year's Eve is probably sitting unopened and will probably take yet another 30 days from now to be received and entered into the client file. The end result, the usual 30 days to get a response letter out will be more like 60-90.
The mail is piling up and will be processed now, but there is a larger backlog than usual. So the key factor here is patience, with the IRS agent, with your CPA and in general waiting for a resolution.