IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig wrote in an op-ed on Yahoo that the tax agency faces ''enormous challenges'' amid the massive backlog of unprocessed returns.
While acknowledging the millions in backlogged returns from prior years, Rettig went on to state that the agency is committed to ''returning to normal inventory levels before next year.''
To combat this, Rettig wrote, the agency has ''taken extraordinary measures to work through unprocessed returns and correspondence, including mandatory overtime by IRS employees, creating and redirecting surge teams to address the inventories, temporarily suspending certain automated compliance notices and, where possible, modernizing operating systems to accelerate the manual processing of inventories.''
Although the IRS has processed some 4 million returns worth about $10 billion so far, the challenges ahead for the agency are littered with complications such as a worker shortage, a backlog of unprocessed paper returns, and adapting to other pandemic-related tax changes.
''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,'' Rettig continued. ''We want to do more, but we face great challenges.''
He went on to say that the agency is grossly understaffed, operating at a capacity of 20,000 fewer employees than it had in 2010. Additionally, it is operating at a budget of roughly $11.4 billion — that's 20% less than it was in 2010 when adjusted for inflation.
''Without long-term, predictable funding, the IRS will continue to face severe limitations, unable to provide the service taxpayers deserve and need,'' he added.
For most individuals, the tax-filing season will end on April 18 this year, rather than the usual deadline of April 15, in observance of Emancipation Day.
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