Residents of California, many of whom have received an extension to pay their 2022 taxes in the fall, were sent erroneous nearly-immediate payment due date notices by the IRS over the past several weeks, with many reporting a lack of information and general confusion when questioning the tax agency for details.
“I panicked when the notification arrived,” Jessica Nguyen, a Bay Area business owner, told The Epoch Times. “We were under the impression we still had months to pay, and we weren’t prepared for this.”
After spending several hours on hold being redirected from one agent to another, Nguyen says she still doesn’t have a clear answer.
“Nobody has been trained about how to handle this, and they don’t know what to tell me when I ask them when my payment is due,” she said. “One person tells me I already should have paid when I filed, and another says the date is extended.”
The tax agency worked to calm nerves with a statement on June 7 directed to Californians that received the notice, advising them that they were automatic recipients of an extension to file because of emergency storm declarations issued by President Joe Biden.
“The IRS apologizes to taxpayers and tax professionals for any confusion as we continue to review the situation,” the statement reads. “Taxpayers receiving these letters do not need to call the IRS or their tax professional.”
Many had already done such, with accountants telling The Epoch Times that call volume has been “through the roof” the past several weeks, as clients sought to understand the implications of the due date notices.
Representatives with the IRS reported similar occurrences, with one spokesperson telling The Epoch Times on June 6 that the agency is aware of the predicament and will be issuing guidance in the near future.
People across the country with taxes owed for 2022 were automatically sent reminders beginning in May, as part of a legal requirement to inform taxpayers of outstanding balances, according to the IRS.
Several taxpayers told The Epoch Times there was no mention made of the special conditions allowing Californians to pay at a later date, although the IRS says a special insert was included in the mailing alerting those affected by disaster declarations to disregard the payment date.
While the recent statement claims that the insert was included, reports from taxpayers in California suggest otherwise, with none of the sources The Epoch Times spoke with finding such with their notice to pay.
Residents of eight states were granted automatic extensions to file because of winter storms, although the due dates differ for each jurisdiction, with payment being due on Oct. 16 for most Californians.
Taxpayers report conflicting information on IRS statements related to the counties excluded, with statements released on five separate occasions between January and May containing lists that are inconsistent.
In addition to the confusion surrounding the notices and dates, California Gov. Gavin Newsom highlighted the delayed tax payments as an obstacle to budget forecasting and revenue collection when he announced his revised budget proposal for the upcoming 2023–24 fiscal year in May.
The state's Franchise Tax Board realigned its tax due dates for both individuals and businesses until October to match the federal changes.
With the recent statement clarifying the 21-day payment deadline notices as incorrect, some taxpayers say they feel some relief, although they’re still unsure about the future.
“Here we are trying to do the right thing, receiving letters intended to scare us into paying, and then they turn around and apologize with a short statement that includes very few details,” Bryan Miller, a small business owner in Sacramento, told The Epoch Times.
According to Miller, an IRS agent told him that interest was accruing on his amount owed.
The short, two-paragraph statement offers vague reassurances and guarantees with no clear specifics pertaining to interest charges or late fees.
However, a spokesperson for the IRS told The Epoch Times on June 12 that interest wouldn't be charged to those living in areas under the emergency declaration, as the due date was automatically extended.