On March 25, 2020, the IRS issued News Release IR-2020-59, advising that certain compliance activities would be suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and inperson contact with taxpayers would be avoided to the maximum extent possible, at least through July 15, 2020. In-person Appeals conferences were one type of contact that was suspended. The Independent Office of Appeals believes that the safety of taxpayers, tax practitioners, and Appeals employees is best protected by continuing to suspend in-person Appeals conferences at this time. Accordingly, Appeals will not conduct any in-person conferences at least through August 31, 2020. Prior to that date, we will monitor the COVID-19 situation, both local and national conditions, and reassess whether in-person conferences should be restarted. In the meantime, Appeals will conduct conferences by telephone or virtually using Webex videoconference technology. Appeals has worked hard over the last several years to provide in-person conferences to taxpayers who want them. We know that this continued limitation is temporary, and we look forward to restarting in-person conferences when it is appropriate to do so.
Over the past several months Appeals has placed in suspense cases of taxpayers who requested an in-person conference. For nondocketed cases (those not docketed before the U.S. Tax Court), we will continue to suspend these cases at this time. We will monitor statutes of limitations and request extensions when warranted. There may be some cases where extensions cannot be obtained, or other circumstances necessitate that we work the case immediately; examples include estate tax and assessed FBAR cases. Appeals will notify taxpayers in these cases. For docketed cases that are in Appeals' jurisdiction, the U.S. Tax Court has begun scheduling virtual trials, and Appeals will begin scheduling telephone or virtual conferences with affected taxpayers to ensure that the taxpayer has an opportunity to attempt to settle the case with Appeals before trial.