IRS offers coronavirus-friendly procedure for changing accounting method

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In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Internal Revenue Service is implementing a new temporary procedure for faxing the duplicate copy of Form 3115, "Application for Change in Accounting Method," for companies applying for an automatic change in accounting method.

Since the start of the pandemic, the IRS has loosened some of its rules for sending forms and other documents, allowing more forms to be faxed and securely emailed as the agency was unable to open the millions of documents sent in the mail and needed to store them in trailers. Now that many IRS employees have returned to work, they have been going through the mail that has piled up, but outbreaks around the country have still made it difficult for all employees to return to the agency and catch up with the backlog.

Previously, taxpayers mailed a paper duplicate copy of Form 3115 to the IRS and filed the original Form 3115 with their tax return. Under the new temporary procedure, starting Friday, July 31, the IRS will accept the duplicate copy of Form 3115 via fax to (844) 249-8134. The change will apply only to taxpayers who are asking for consent to make a change in accounting method under the automatic change procedure. This temporary procedure will be in effect until further notice.

“Taxpayers will still need to submit two copies of the Form 3115 to the IRS,” the IRS said on its website Wednesday. “Taxpayers must continue to file Form 3115 with their tax return (including extensions). However, instead of mailing the duplicate paper copy of Form 3115 to the IRS in Ogden, Utah, taxpayers can now fax it to (844) 249-8134.”

The cover sheet of the fax should include the following information:

  • Subject: Form 3115
  • Sender's name, title, phone number, address
  • Taxpayer's name
  • Date
  • Number of pages faxed (including cover sheet)

The IRS cautioned that taxpayers should not include sensitive information on the cover sheet, such as an Employer Identification Number or Social Security number. The IRS won’t provide a confirmation or receipt of the fax. It advised taxpayers to check their fax transmission log to verify that all the Form 3115 pages have been sent.

The IRS has provided a set of questions and answers on matters such as who is affected by the change on its website.

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IRS Coronavirus Tax forms Accounting methods