Millions of Americans continue to wait for 2021 tax year refunds due to a backlog of returns at that IRS, according to a taxpayer advocate.
National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins gave an update Thursday on the IRS' attempt to work through the backlog.
"I look at the numbers and see millions of taxpayers that are still waiting for their returns to be processed," Collins wrote via the NTA blog. "As of Oct. 21, the IRS had about three million individual returns and north of four million business returns awaiting initial processing, as well as about two million amended individual and business returns.
"In total, it has over 6.3 million returns in suspense, with about two million in unpostable status, 1.1 million processing rejects, a half-million in error resolution, and nearly three million still waiting to be worked for potential identity theft."
The backlog is nothing new. A similar situation last occurred year.
"For some, this filing season may have felt like 'Groundhog Day,'" wrote Collins, referring to the Bill Murray movie. "Numerically the IRS is in about the same place that it was around the same time last year."
Things could worse this year. The IRS had about 7 million paper tax returns in its inventory around the same time last year.
Near the end of October, more than 164 million individual tax returns for 2021 had been filed — 92% filed electronically — and nearly 109 million refunds were issued totaling nearly $345 billion.
Collins' blog post came after the IRS was allotted $80 billion by Democrat lawmakers in August to beef up its staff, increase enforcement against tax cheats and modernize its systems.
Republicans argued that the money will be used to go after the middle class and small-business owners.
Even if the midterms give the GOP a House majority, official results in a group of House races remained undecided, President Joe Biden's presence likely would ensure the new IRS funding remains in place.
"As the National Taxpayer Advocate, I want the best possible service for taxpayers and will continue to provide my input as the IRS creates its Operational Plan with the increased funding provided by Congress," Collins wrote.
Collins based her blog entry on IRS processing and a recent experience at the IRS’s Kansas City campus, where she "had the privilege of working alongside mailroom employees."
"I was also able to personally observe the overwhelming amount of paper through which the IRS must work," she wrote. "Seeing seemingly endless carts of paper while knowing that documents buried within those carts represent delayed refunds for millions of taxpayers in need is beyond difficult for our employees."
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