According to an independent watchdog report that was released Wednesday stated that the IRS ended this year with more than 35 million individual and business tax returns that have not been processed. The backlog includes about 16.8 million paper tax returns, 15.8 million returns suspended for further review and 2.7 million amended returns. The amount of unprocessed tax returns is four time more than the recorded at the end of 2019 pre-pandemic filing season.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the shut down to help prevent the spread of the disease is a huge cause for the backlog of tax returns. Because of the long wait times for people to receive their refunds may be harmful this year, especially for low-income Americans. Erin Collins, the National Taxpayer Advocate says” For taxpayers who can afford to wait, the best advice is to be patient and give the IRS time to work through its processing backlog. But particularly for low-income taxpayers and small businesses operating n the margin, refund delays can impose significant financial hardships.”
The agency has been dealing with phone calls and have been unable to keep up. During the 2021 filling period the IRS had received 167 million phone calls. As a result of that many calls, only 9% of calls were answered by a live customer services representative.
The IRS said the backlog will likely improve later this summer, but until then taxpayers may need to brace themselves for a longer wait.