IRS has yet to Process 24 Million Tax Returns from Last Year, Refunds can take 10 Months

IRS has yet to Process 24 Million Tax Returns from Last Year, Refunds can take 10 Months

By Yehudit Garmaise

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) workers have piled on their desks 24 million unprocessed tax returns: not the 6 million the agency reported in January it had yet to file from last year, according to an IRS taxpayer advocate service that counted the unprocessed tax returns for a U.S.  Congressional committee. 

As a result, 2022 tax refunds could be held up for 10 months or more.

IRS workers got behind during the COVID-19 pandemic, when thousands of employees worked from home for months without access to returns, audits, and other business. 

With IRS offices closed for months paper tax returns remained in trucks outside. Now, the agency advises taxpayers to file online for quicker service, as digital tax returns can be accessed from employees’ homes.

In addition, federal stimulus measures increased the work and stress, as workers were ordered to swiftly send out relief checks to millions of Americans. 

Although the IRS has said that it regularly enters filing season with 1 million unprocessed tax returns from the previous year, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the same staffing shortages that many other industries experienced.

The IRS has said that it has endured years of inadequate funding that does not allow the agency to hire and train thousands of necessary staffers and update equipment that has been collecting dust since the 1960s. As a result of its considerable woes, the IRS is considering suspending tax collections and excusing some penalty enforcements, the Washington Post reported.

While a group of 30 Republicans sent to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig a letter in which they described the amount of work to be done at the IRS as “untenable,” Democrats claim that members of the GOP block federal aid that could help the beleaguered agency.

Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), the chairman of the tax-focused House Ways and Means Committee, said, “For decades, Republicans have starved the IRS of funding, and now American taxpayers are paying the price.”  

Photo by Flickr Credit

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