The phones are ringing off the hook, and the mail is piling up at the IRS as the 2020 tax filing season gets underway. The agency has seen an increase of 7.5 million more calls in 2021, approximately a 300% increase over January 2020. The chances are unlikely that anyone will answer, causing additional frustration for taxpayers and hurting its efforts to provide help with COVID-19 relief payments and this year’s tax season.
What’s causing the backlog at the IRS?
Before COVID-19, the IRS was already suffering from backlogs due to budget cuts, staffing shortages, and government shutdowns. The COVID-19-driven hurdles continue to pile on a host of compounded challenges to the underfunded and understaffed agency. Currently, the IRS is experiencing a backlog of approximately 11 million unprocessed tax returns from the 2019 tax year. The backlog of unprocessed mail from the pandemic has created a ripple effect continuing into this year’s tax-filing season. Contributing to the backlog during the pandemic’s height was that most IRS offices were still closed at the time or had voluntary work-from-home policies in place, so the backlog was continuing to grow. The IRS is still inundated with questions about last year’s tax returns, tax refunds, economic relief payments, tax credits, and more, and none of the load is lightening.
Additionally, adding to the backlog at the IRS is processing the latest round of Economic Impact Payments resulting from the recent Biden Administration Executive Order and implementing other COVID-related legislative provisions — all while working on running a successful 2021 tax filing season.
What does this mean for you?
- BE PATIENT
- You may receive notices that are automatically generated by and IRS computer system event if payments were sent months ago. Keep track of your payment dates and confirmation so you know how to respond when this occurs.
- Plan ahead if you are going to call – hold times are long – Maybe have other work available while you are on hold
- Consider making any payments due online vs. “snail” mail – estimates and balances due can be paid online (https://www.irs.gov/)
- We suggest creating an account with the IRS, which may take a few minutes, but you will always have it.
- BE PATIENT
And remember, the Janover professionals are here to assist you. To learn more about how we can help you navigate your tax picture, please contact your tax professional or call 212-792-6300.