Tuesday, April 7, 2020

IRS Answers Questions On Installment Agreement Direct Debit Payments

Following its March 25 announcement of the COVID-19-related suspension of payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 by taxpayers who have an agreement with IRS to pay taxes in installments, IRS has answered questions about situations in which those taxpayers have Direct Debit Installment Agreements (DDIAs).
A DDIA is an arrangement to pay federal taxes under an installment agreement via payments that are automatically debited from the taxpayer's bank account. 
On March 25, 2020, IRS issued IR 2020-59, which provided the following: For taxpayers under an existing installment agreement, payments due between April 1 and July 15, 2020 are suspended. Taxpayers who are currently unable to comply with the terms of an Installment Payment Agreement, including a Direct Debit installment agreement, may suspend payments during this period if they prefer. Furthermore, IRS will not default any installment agreements during this period. By law, interest will continue to accrue on any unpaid balances.
IRS has now posted two questions and answers regarding taxpayers with DDIAs:

Q. Will direct debit payments continue to be deducted from my bank for Direct Debit Installment Agreements (DDIAs) during the suspension period?

A. Yes. IRS will continue to debit payments from the bank for Direct Debit Installment Agreements (DDIAs) during the suspension period. However, taxpayers who are unable to comply with terms of their Installment Agreement may suspend payments during this period. Installment agreements will not default due to missing payments during the suspension period through July 15.

Q. If necessary, what is the best way to suspend direct debit payments for a Direct Debit Installment Agreement (DDIA)?

A. Taxpayers should contact their bank directly to stop payments if they prefer to suspend direct debit payments during the suspension period. Banks are required to comply with customer requests to stop recurring payments within a specified timeframe. IRS may be able to suspend certain single DDIA payments upon request, but due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 issues it may be difficult to reach an assistor. Note that if payments are stopped, in order to avoid possible default of the agreement once the suspension period expires on July 15, 2020, taxpayers must inform their bank to allow the debits to resume at least two weeks before their next payment is due.
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