COVID-19 is causing operational delays for the IRS, as it has with many businesses. An IRS official recently acknowledged that the tax agency is experiencing delays in processing paper returns and other mail due to limited staffing. As of Oct. 2, around 5 million pieces of unopened mail (about half of which are tax returns) remain unopened and are stored at various IRS processing centers. This unopened mail backlog also consists of tax payments and taxpayer correspondence. The IRS said that it will “systemically abate” late-payment penalties for paper checks mailed by the extended July 15 due date, once it has processed all the backlogged mail.