FEMA Shuts Down IRS Collections

Sandy stops tax enforcement – We have just found out about this; there has been no press release and scant additional information. But it appears that FEMA has ordered that because of Hurricane Sandy, IRS collections (levies and liens) be shut down in affected areas.


The IRS website says this:

Affected taxpayers who are contacted by the IRS on a collection or examination matter should explain how the disaster impacts them so that the IRS can provide appropriate consideration to their case.


However, this is unconfirmed information, but we are being told that Revenue Officers and Examiners are told to stand down and not make contact or engage in collection or audit procedures if the taxpayer resides in one of the following counties:


  • Fairfield
  • New Haven
  • Middlesex
  • New London


New York:

  • Richmond
  • Kings
  • Queens
  • Bronx
  • Nassau
  • Suffolk
  • Westchester
  • Rockland
  • Orange
  • Putnam
  • Sullivan
  • Ulster


New Jersey:

  • All counties


Why is it NOT a good idea to shut down the IRS?

The blanket prohibition against any exam or collections activity is overboard. While there is no doubt that certain areas are completely devastated, treating all counties the same — all as severely affected by the storm as say, Staten Island, does not do many people much good. Why?


First off, we have an inventory of our clients cases that we are ready to revolve. But neither we nor the Revenue Agent nor Revenue Officer assigned can take any action to close out the cases.


Second, the IRS is not going anywhere. So when the IRS restarts, they will have a vastly increased workload, and potentially a lack of patience.


Third, are we paying people to stand around and do nothing? Isn't this frustrating for them too?