IRS dealing with tax return backlog

INDIANA – If you’ve submitted your tax returns and have not gotten your refund back, you’re in the same pickle as many Americans and many other Hoosiers.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service is working to try and decrease some of that backlog, and at the same time get people their refunds.

Treasury Department officials warned last month that this year’s tax season will be a challenge with the IRS starting to process returns on January 24. That’s largely due to the IRS’ sizable backlog of returns from 2021. As of December 31, the agency had 6 million unprocessed individual returns — a significant reduction from a backlog of 30 million in May, but far higher than the 1 million unprocessed returns that are more typical around the start of tax season. 

The agency also promised that most Americans will receive a refund within 21 days. But, if you claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Child Tax Credit, will slow down your tax return due to regulations designed to deter fraud, but that means people who claim those credits and filed their returns on January 24 or close to that date may not receive their refund until early March, the IRS said. 

And other issues can slow down your refund, such as errors like math problems or incorrectly stating how much you received from the advanced Child Tax Credit payments. In those cases, your tax return could get flagged, leading to delays of weeks or even months.

The IRS said tax returns with errors involving the third stimulus check, which are missing information or which have suspected fraud or theft could take up to 90 to 120 days to resolve. 

Some taxpayers may also inadvertently claim the wrong amount on their tax returns this year — and through no fault of their own. The IRS on Monday said that some of its Child Tax Credit letters — letter 6419 — included incorrect information about the amount some taxpayers received. The IRS is asking taxpayers to refer to the letter when filling out their tax returns. 

But if that happens, that taxpayer’s return may not match what the IRS has on file, leading to the return getting flagged — and delays in getting their return processed and their refund sent to them, said Larry Gray, a CPA and government relations liaison for the National Association of Tax Professionals. 

If all goes well, though, taxpayers who e-file can receive their refunds via direct deposit as quickly as one week after filing based on previous years’ processing time, according to trade publication CPA Advisor. It’s important to note that processing time typically slows down as the tax season gets underway and the IRS handles more returns, it noted.

t IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig

The IRS said on Friday, February 11th that it has so far issued 4.3 million refunds worth $9.5 billion. But IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Monday wrote in a Yahoo Finance article that “millions are waiting for their returns to be processed.” He also noted that the agency has the same level of staffing as in the 1970s despite the U.S. population has grown by 60% since then.