This week, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig warned that due to the huge backlog of tax returns, this year’s tax season will be “challenging.”
Rettig mentioned that millions of Americans are still waiting for their tax returns from years past. They still need to be processed, and refund checks need to get sent out in the mail. He also said that the federal agency is committed to “returning to normal inventory levels before next year.”
Rettig said that the IRS has already issued four million refunds, worth about $10 billion. However, tax season is just getting started. And this year is sure to bring many delays and frustrations. Namely in the form of those backlogged taxes, but also due to a lack of staff, changing laws around stimulus checks, and more.
“Millions are waiting for their returns to be processed, and many won’t be able to reach us when they call with questions this filing season. This is frustrating for taxpayers and for us,” he wrote. “We want to do more, but we face great challenges.”
This Year’s Tax Season Delays, In Depth
According to him, the IRS is grossly understaffed. There are reportedly 20,000 fewer staff members working than in 2010. Plus, roughly 20% of IRS customer service workers have been unable to work due to COVID-19 over the past two years. On top of staffing issues, the IRS budget this year is roughly $11.4 billion. Fox Business reports that $11.4 billion is 20% less than what the IRS budget was in 2010.
In a recent report for Congress, it was estimated that the IRS had a backlog of more than 8.6 million income tax returns. On top of that, it has a backlog of 2.8 million business tax returns. The federal agency also has close to five million pieces of unanswered mail. During a normal year, the IRS will typically enter the tax season will less than 1 million items to finish.
These budget issues and staffing issues aren’t new. However, due to the pandemic, there are other issues the IRS will have to work through. Due to stimulus checks, child tax credit payments, and other aid, more paperwork needs to be filed. Along with that comes more errors on taxpayers’ returns. Without a doubt, this will lead to more delays during the 2022 tax season.
Staying Ahead of Delays
To some degree, IRS delays will happen no matter what you do. But to get your refund as fast as possible, do these things. Firstly, make sure that everything you’re filing is correct. Errors will slow down your return. If you can, file electronically. In addition to that, sign up to get your refund via direct deposit. Getting a check in the mail takes longer. Lastly, file as soon as you can. Make sure you have all of the paperwork you need. Getting your tax return in as quickly as possible is key to getting your refund.