WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) — The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday it will clear the backlog on last season’s tax returns by the end of this week.
And with 143 million tax returns processed so far for this year’s tax season, agency officials say there’s a good chance all of them will be processed by the end of this year.
The agency has faced a widely publicized backlog of tens of millions of tax returns and clogged customer service phone systems that executives attribute to decades of underfunding and outdated internal computer systems.
“Today, there are more than twice as many returns pending compared to a typical year at this point in the calendar year, although the IRS has processed nearly a million more returns to date than at the same time last year,” it said in a statement. agencies. said in a statement on Tuesday.
Managing pandemic-related programs, including stimulus checks and child tax credit advances, has placed a new burden on the agency over the past two years.
And that’s on top of the IRS workforce, which was the same as it was in 1970, even though the US population was growing exponentially and the US tax code was getting more complex.
A finance ministry official, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said the agency staff worked 500,000 overtime hours to close the backlog.
Agency officials asked Congress to increase funding for the agency.
During fiscal year 2020, the IRS processed more than 240 million tax returns and paid out about $736 billion in refunds, including $268 billion in stimulus payments, according to the latest IRS data.
During the same period, 59.5 million people called or visited the IRS office.
In a joint letter addressed to Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Tuesday that the agency has provided more than $298 billion in reimbursement to Americans this year. and error-free electronic returns were processed within 8-21 days.
“Despite this progress, there are real challenges ahead,” the letter said. “Because the IRS entered this filing season with a significant delay, millions of paper returns received in 2022 have yet to be processed.”
The agency is working to cope with an ever-increasing workload. The agency entered tax filing season this year with 8 million pending returns for 2021 and will eliminate the last of those that did not contain taxpayer errors by the end of this week, it said.
Last week, the agency introduced voice bots to help taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or change a payment plan, while avoiding lengthy waits.
And in March, the agency announced plans to hire 10,000 new workers. According to the Ministry of Finance, 1,500 new workers have been hired so far.