Although the IRS performed well under difficult circumstances, Erin Collins, IRS National Taxpayer Advocate, dubbed 2021 the most challenging year taxpayers and tax professionals have ever experienced in her annual report to Congress issued in January. Among top concerns, are 6 million unprocessed tax returns for 2020, 2.3 million unprocessed amended tax returns for prior years, and 5 million opened but unprocessed items of correspondence dating back to at least April 2021. And here comes the 2022 filing season.
Telephone service is the worst it has ever been, with an IRS answer rate at a dismal 11% in 2021, and other similar gloomy benchmarks. The sharp declines are not surprising given that since fiscal year 2010, the IRS workforce has shrunk by 17% while its workload has increased by 19%. Add to that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of many IRS offices, and problems multiply. The IRS Taxpayer Advocate has consistently recommended that Congress provide the IRS with sufficient funding to serve the taxpayers well. In 2021, taxpayers sought information on the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund” website more than 630 million times, often receiving no helpful information. This is particularly problematic for low-income families. Filing tax returns electronically, and without errors, can ensure the swiftest refund; when a tax return has to be processed manually or reviewed due to an error, a refund may be delayed.
To review the complete report, click here.