Tips go out to taxpayers as IRS faces delays in processing millions of returns

“We’ve got to pick up the pace,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) about the tax return backlog
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 10:48 AM EST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Taxpayers are urged to file their returns electronically this year if possible as the IRS is working to overcome delays in processing returns due to COVID-19.

“We’ve got over 6 million returns across the country that haven’t been returned from people filing on their 2020 taxes,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

The IRS acknowledges the delays on its website as it claims the pandemic has caused issues to some services including live phone support, processing tax returns filed on paper, answering mail from taxpayers, and reviewing tax returns.

“It was a unique year between the child tax credit, the additional stimulus payments. It’s going to be important that people are able to get answers from the IRS,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.).

CPA and tax expert with TurboTax Lisa Greene-Lewis reiterated the advice from the IRS for taxpayers to file their returns electronically this year if possible in order to help them receive their returns faster. She also advises everyone to keep a close eye on their mailboxes.

“You still should get started now and definitely gather all your documents in one place. Especially this year you want to look out for some new letters that the IRS sent. So, letters 6419 that reports the amount of advanced child tax credit payments that they issued if you received those. And, letter 6475 if you received the third stimulus and you possibly are eligible for more because you want to report the right amount that they sent you just to avoid any delays. And, also so you can get the additional credits that you’re eligible for,” said Greene-Lewis.

The IRS posted this online:

“The IRS is opening mail within normal timeframes and all paper and electronic individual refund returns received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review. As of December 31, 2021, we had 6 million unprocessed individual returns. Unprocessed individual returns include tax year 2020 returns with errors and those returns requiring special handling such as those that require correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). This work does not require us to correspond with taxpayers but does require special handling by an IRS employee so, in these instances, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund and in some cases this work could take 90 to 120 days. The IRS is having to correct significantly more errors on tax returns than in previous years. The IRS has reduced the number of returns requiring special handling from an historical high of 9.8 million on May 1, 2021 to the current level of 54,000 individual returns as of December 31. If a correction is made to any RRC, EITC or ACTC claimed on the return, the IRS will send taxpayers an explanation. Taxpayers are encouraged to continue to check Where’s My Refund? for their personalized refund status and can review Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions.”

The IRS offers ‘free file’ to assist taxpayers in submitting their federal return.

For most taxpayers, the deadline to file 2021 federal tax returns is April 18, but due to regional holidays, the IRS has extend the deadline for some until April 19.

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