The income tax filing season begins today, but a worker shortage at the IRS and a huge workload from pandemic-related programs likely means delays in processing returns – especially since the IRS is still working through last year’s returns.
Still, the agency anticipates most taxpayers will get their refund within 21 days of filing electronically, barring any issues with processing their return.
IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig warned earlier this month that “in many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that “the IRS right now has unacceptable backlogs and the customer service that people are receiving is not what the American people deserve.”
Psaki said it’s not a new problem because the IRS “has not been equipped with the resources to adequately serve taxpayers in normal times, let alone during a pandemic” – adding that it’s going to take some time and added funding for improvements.
The IRS says it processed more than 240 million tax returns and issued roughly $736-billion dollars in refunds, including $268-billion in stimulus payments, during the 2020 budget year while also assisting 59.5-million people on the phone or in person.
On Thursday, the IRS released a list of Top 5 Things to Remember with suggestions for taxpayers on what documents to pull together and what to do if their 2020 returns still have not been processed.