The IRS Is Behind On Processing More Than 5.5 Million Tax Returns As Oct. 15 Deadline Looms

Young stressed secretary in the office overwhelmed by work and desk full of files, her boss is bringing more paperwork to her.
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The Internal Revenue Service is struggling to keep up with a large volume of tax returns yet to be processed and phone calls from taxpayers for help, according to Stephen Mankowski tax chair of the National Conference of CPA Practitioners.

See: The IRS Refunded $303 Billion So Far This Year — Don’t Miss the Oct. 15 Late-File Deadline
Find: Stimulus Update: Angry Parents Take to Twitter Over Missing September Child Tax Credit Payments

“Hiring and training take time. The automated callback program has been successful, but the number of people in the queue is limited to the number of assistants available,” he told Accounting Today. “The number of calls coming in, particularly regarding the Child Tax Credit, are exacerbating the problem.”

The IRS has faced an unprecedented year of work and volume levels they have never before experienced. In the same year, they have dealt with the pressures of the pandemic, multiple stimulus payments, extended tax deadlines and now the child tax credit payments. Each benefit has had its own host of issues, from technical difficulties to taxpayers calling in with problems and delays.

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New online portals have been created for the child tax credit specifically to help alleviate some of these problems, but they have also created their own host of issues on their own. Problems with bank update information have caused delays or errors in the receipt and payment of the child tax credit for many Americans. Additionally, if you attempt to contact the IRS via phone with any of these issues, you’ll need a bit of luck to have someone answer on the other end of the line.

The IRS, as with most offices, was affected by the pandemic and had to deal with fears of infections and rising case counts amongst their essential worker population. As Mankowski also pointed out, the IRS has hired more workers in order to help with this year’s tremendous workload, but getting things off the ground has been more difficult than previously thought.

See: Stimulus Update: Petition for a Fourth Stimulus, State Economic Boosts, Golden State Checks & Child Tax Credits
Find: Everything You Need To Know About Taxes Leading Up to the Extension Deadline

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“Paper returns have piled up — there are 5.5 million Form 1040s and over 4 million business returns that have been opened but not processed. The goal is that by year-end, the paper returns will be processed. However, there are an additional 4 million returns anticipated by mid-October,” he said.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 

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