Bloomberg Tax
April 21, 2020, 10:17 PM

IRS Using Video Calls, Faxes as Workarounds During Crisis

Isabel Gottlieb
Isabel Gottlieb

With 95% of its staff working from home, the IRS’s Large Business and International Division is using video calls and fax machines to continue working on cases and refunds, while pausing most new exams, officials said.

The situation “is not a normal telework environment. That’s challenged us to think differently about the way we do our work, the way we interact with you all, and the way you interact with us,” Doug O’Donnell, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service’s LB&I unit, said Tuesday.

  • Paper submissions will be held until “we get to some sort of normal in the future,” O’Donnell said on a webcast hosted by KPMG LLP. The IRS is accepting faxed submissions of Forms 1139 and 1045, which pertain to refunds for net operating loss carrybacks, and will soon release guidance on refund claims related to tax code Section 965, O’Donnell said.
  • The IRS has also started accepting scans of signatures instead of physical copies and is using video conferencing for verifications that have to be done in person, O’Donnell said.
  • The agency is generally not starting new field office and correspondent exams, except to protect the government’s interest or because of a statute of limitations, Nikole Flax, LB&I deputy commissioner, said on the webcast.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isabel Gottlieb in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Meg Shreve at; Sony Kassam at