As another thrilling tax season comes to a close, the IRS is struggling to stay up with the processing of 2022 returns while working to minimize the millions of unprocessed submissions from the previous year.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) stated in the Interim Results of the 2022 Filing Season report released on May 2 that continued personnel shortages are limiting the agency’s efforts to deal with a backlog of more than 16.4 million tax returns, transactions, and Accounts Managements cases leftover from 2021.
However, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated before the Senate Finance Committee in early April that the agency had reduced the number of unprocessed 2021 returns to 2.7 million and that the backlog will be cleared by the end of 2022.
As of March 4, 54.7 million of the 160.7 million individual income tax returns expected by the IRS in 2022 had been filed, with $129.2 billion in refunds awarded to American taxpayers.
97.2 percent of the returns received were filed electronically, with 1.2 million completed utilizing the IRS Free File software tool.
Aside from the delay in processing returns, the article claims that the IRS is employing submission processing and accounts management staff to deal with the influx of returns and phone calls.
The IRS had employed 76 percent of its target 5,000 Accounts Management staff as of March 17, 2022, according to the report, but just 521 people had been offered submission processing jobs out of a total of 5,472 new workers (9.5 percent ).
A backlog of IRS tax returns is nothing new. Despite the continuous personnel shortages and the introduction of new legislation provisions for the 2021 tax year, the agency claims that the latest backlog growth is largely attributable to the epidemic.
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“From an operational standpoint, we continue to work toward eliminating the rolling backlog of inventory that developed during the closures of our [Submission Processing Centers] from late March through June and July 2020,
” the IRS’ Douglas O’Donnell said in response to an April 11 Government Accountability Office report examining the IRS’ workload and detailing recommendations to remedy the backlog.
“This resulted in a full halt in the processing of incoming mail receipts, including tax returns, tax payments, revised returns, and other communications,” he added. “The halt also applied to paper tax returns that were in various stages of completion at the time.”