Backlog of tax returns ‘still crushes the IRS’ – and taxpayers – as pile-up tops 21 million, agency watchdog reports


IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on April 7, 2022.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The backlog of IRS tax returns has swelled over the past year, despite efforts to eliminate the stacking, according to an agency watchdog.

There were 21.3 million unprocessed paper returns as of May 31, up from 20 million a year earlier, the Taxpayer Advocate Service said in its midyear report to Congress.

“Unfortunately, at this point, the backlog is still overwhelming the IRS, its employees, and most importantly, taxpayers,” wrote National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, who leads TSWT organization at the IRS.

Learn more about personal finance:
IRS makes progress on backlog of tax returns, but millions remain unprocessed
What a Federal Gas Tax Waiver Could Mean for Pump Prices
Tax experts ‘very skeptical’ of expanding IRS voice robots for payment plans

See also  'No different to the mortgage crisis': NAACP President Derrick Johnson explains why student loan forgiveness is needed

“The fact that the backlog continues to grow is deeply concerning, primarily because millions of taxpayers have been waiting six months or more to receive their refunds,” Collins added.

While more than 90% of taxpayers filed returns electronically last year, about 17 million filed returns on paper, contributing to the backlog.

Over the past year, repayment times for some paper returns have exceeded six months, with many waiting 10 months or more, according to the report.

Watchdog shares “missed opportunities” for the IRS

Over the past 12 months, the agency may have increased efficiency with new scanning technology or accelerated the use of some of the $1.5 billion in funding from the 2021 U.S. bailout. to hire new employees, according to the report.

“The IRS is committed to having healthy inventory by the end of this year and continues to make strong progress in processing unprocessed tax returns,” said IRS spokeswoman Jodie Reynolds. IRS, in a statement.

“The inventory numbers presented in the National Taxpayer Advocate report are neither the most accurate nor the most recent numbers,” she said.

The agency is processing more returns than a year ago and continues to make “substantial progress” on the backlog. There have been “significant new hires,” while displacing existing staff, requiring mandatory overtime and improved efficiency, Reynolds said.

“The IRS generally respects the important role the National Taxpayer Advocate plays for taxpayers and the tax administration, and we will be reviewing the mid-year report closely,” she said.

See also  India may allow 1.2m tonnes of wheat exports: report

IRS plans to hire more workers

The agency announced plans in March to hire 10,000 workers, starting with 5,000 new employees. However, the IRS had not yet reached halfway through May’s workforce of 5,000, according to Ken Corbin, the agency’s director of taxpayer experience.

“We remain focused on doing everything in our power to expedite the processing of these tax returns, and we continue to add more people to this effort as our hiring efforts continue this summer,” the commissioner said. of IRS Chuck Rettig in a press release this week.

As of June 10, the IRS had processed about 4.5 million of more than 4.7 million individual paper returns from 2021, and the agency expects to complete error-free individual returns from 2021 this week.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here