‘Still waiting’: Lawmakers are pushing the IRS amid huge backlogs

(The Center Square)-Both Republicans and Democrats are beating the Internal Revenue Service for its millions backlogging returns.

IRS issues can be traced in part back to President Joe Biden’s monthly child tax credit, part of a $ 1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill. The program mandated the IRS to distribute federal funds last year to millions of Americans based on the age and number of children they have.

The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) released its federally mandated report in mid -December, which found that the IRS still has 2.8 million unprocessed business returns, 6.2 million unprocessed individual returns, 2.4 million unprocessed yet processed modified individual returns, including 427,000 modified business returns. The report also found that the IRS has approximately 4.75 million pieces of unprocessed letter from taxpayers.

Now, the IRS is warning of more issues this year. The IRS issued an “urgent reminder” in January, warning Americans to file electronically “to help expedite refunds” toward the next tax season.

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig published an op-ed on Yahoo News last week sharing that message.

“With the IRS beginning this tax season, it continues to face tremendous challenges. Our dedicated staff has done everything possible to prepare for filing day on April 18,” he wrote. “Today, millions of people are still waiting for previous years’ returns to be processed, and refund checks to arrive in the mail, while preparing for their upcoming tax filing. Although we did not immediately resolve these important issues, our employees are doing all they can, and I am committed to returning to normal inventory levels before next year. ”

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the IRS asking that they fix bureaucratic issues. Those Republicans refer to old software and “telework policies associated with COVID-19” that allow most IRS employees to work remotely.

“For many Americans, their tax return could be the equivalent of six weeks of repatriation income,” the letter said. “The volume of tax returns and refunds completed each year demonstrates the far-reaching impact that processing delays can have for the average American. Processed returns are also important for those who may be eligible to apply for others. government benefits such as loans administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.Therefore it is imperative that the IRS take steps to mitigate any delays in processing, which could delay refunds and access to programs. economic assistance.

But Republicans aren’t the only ones hitting on this issue. The US Sen. Bob Menendez, DN.J., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS, has partnered with U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., In a letter to the IRS signed by 45 members of Congress. They urged the IRS to rise over time and add staff to address the problem.

“We continue to hear from constituents who are still waiting for their 2020 tax return, have received confusing notifications about overdue payments they have already paid, and cannot reach anyone at the IRS for help. Many of these problems stem from the millions of unprocessed correspondence items from 2021, ”the letter said, adding that“ taxpayers need more immediate relief, especially in the 2022 filing period. is going on. ”

Lawmakers also called for the IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury to provide “punitive relief” for Americans, many of whom receive notices for non -payment of their taxes. The problem is, they did pay their taxes, but the IRS has not yet processed their filings.

A bipartisan group of 214 lawmakers sent a letter to the IRS and Treasury Department in January, highlighting the negative impact on small businesses.

“In many cases, the delayed processing of revised returns is so detrimental to small businesses in our communities that applications for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration were caught in limbo nearly two years after the pandemic began. of COVID-19, “the letter said. . “The situation has worsened to a point that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will no longer accept cases that only involve processing modified returns. As a result, it has become impossible for failed taxpayers to find any help. ”