People First Initiative FAQs: General information

These FAQs are not included in the Internal Revenue Bulletin, and therefore may not be relied upon as legal authority. This means that the information cannot be used to support a legal argument in a court case.

Q. What is the People First Initiative? (updated July 9, 2020)

A. On March 25, 2020, the IRS announced the People First Initiative in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It included a sweeping series of steps to help taxpayers by offering temporary relief on a variety of issues ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions from April 1, 2020 to July 15, 2020.

Q. What is the IRS doing with collections to help taxpayers during this time? (updated July 9, 2020)

A. The People First Initiative included relief on a variety of issues related to collections ranging from easing payment guidelines to postponing compliance actions.

During this time the IRS:

  • Allowed taxpayers to suspend their payments on Installment Agreements if they were unable to comply.
  • Halted the majority of new liens and levies initiated by field revenue officers, including any seizures of a personal residence.
  • Stopped the issuance of new automatic, systemic liens and levies.
  • Suspended Passport Certifications to the State Department that prevent "seriously delinquent" taxpayers from receiving or renewing passports.
  • Did not forward new delinquent accounts to private collection agencies.

Q. Is the People First Initiative static going forward?

A. The IRS will monitor the initiative and modify or expand it where appropriate. The IRS welcomes and will be mindful of feedback from its partners in the tax world as this crisis unfolds.

Q. Will the People First Initiative end July 15? (added July 9, 2020)

A. The People First Initiative gave unprecedented tax relief to people with compliance related issues and postponed many new compliance activities from April 1 to July 15, including generally not starting new audits or initiating new notices of federal tax lien and levies. As the IRS restarts compliance activities after July 15, enforcement processes will resume on a case-by-case basis. When necessary, employees have the discretion to appropriately handle unusual situations and hardship issues. 

The IRS will continue to prioritize helping taxpayers work through their compliance issues. Taxpayers should file any delinquent returns and arrange to resolve outstanding balances. Further information on payment options appears elsewhere on this FAQ page.

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