At the beginning of the year, the IRS informed taxpayers to expect waiting periods longer than usual for both the processing of their tax returns and answers to service calls. In fact, the backlog of people needing service became so bad that at a certain point the IRS flatly told people to stop calling as there were unprecedented wait times and all information was available online.
As of today, the backlog of unprocessed tax returns has actually grown and now stands at 35 million. This is an increase of 4 million from May when it was holding 31 million returns, CNBC reported. In their most recent report, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported that “The combination of pandemic-induced shutdowns, three rounds of Economic Impact Payments, challenges with paper return filings, a backlog of over 35 million suspended 2020 returns, and the responsibilities of implementing new legislation resulted in a challenging 2021 filing season for the IRS and tens of millions of taxpayers.”
The IRS also stated that it is taking more time to process 2020 returns specifically because it needs to determine recovery rebate credit amounts for the first and second stimulus checks in addition to figuring out earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit amounts.
There is a myriad of reasons your tax return could be delayed including errors, incomplete sections, suspected fraud, you filed for earned income tax credit or additional child tax credits, or your return includes an injured spouse allocation.
They advise that the best a taxpayer can do is access the IRS tool “Where’s My Refund” online in order to track the status of their refund. You will have to input your Social Security number or ITIN, your tax filing status and exact refund amount. The tool can be found here.
If there is a problem with your tax refund the IRS will try to correct it on its own, which can also cause delays. If they are unable to fix it, you will be notified via a letter sent to your home.
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