Feb 12, 2022 - Politics & Policy

IRS backlog: 24 million taxpayers waiting for returns from last year

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Saturday, June 26, 2021.

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 24 million taxpayers are still waiting for their tax returns from last year, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The Internal Revenue Service backlog will only add to the slow service and delays already anticipated for the 2022 tax filing season.

Driving the news: The millions of taxpayers who are still waiting for tax returns is much higher than what was previously reported by the agency, according to the Post.

  • "This situation is untenable," a group of 30 Senate Republicans wrote in a Thursday letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
  • Slow service and missed calls have threatened "our constituents’ ability to have their returns processed accurately and efficiently," the lawmakers wrote.

State of play: The pandemic exacerbated the IRS's shortcomings, making 2021 "one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

  • A report from the taxpayer advocate's office, which wrote that the IRS is "in crisis," has already warned of refund delays for the 2022 tax filing season.
  • And, the IRS itself has warned that staffing shortages and backlogs could lead to a "frustrating" tax filing season.

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