IRS erases last season’s backlog, but still faces 2022 crush

Jun 21, 2022, 2:56 PM | Updated: 3:03 pm
FILE - A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form is shown July 24, 2018, in New ...

FILE - A portion of the 1040 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return form is shown July 24, 2018, in New York. The IRS said Tuesday, June 21, 2022, that it will have erased its backlog of last season's tax returns by the end of this week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that it will have erased its backlog of last season’s tax returns by the end of this week.

And with 143 million returns from this year’s tax season processed so far, agency officials say there’s a greater likelihood of being caught up on processing all returns by the end of this year.

The agency has faced a well-publicized backlog of tens of millions of tax returns and clogged customer service phone systems, which leaders have attributed to decades of underfunding and antiquated internal computer systems.

“To date, more than twice as many returns await processing compared to a typical year at this point in the calendar year, although the IRS has worked through almost a million more returns to date than it had at this time last year,” the agency said in statement Tuesday.

Administering pandemic-related programs — including stimulus checks and advanced Child Tax Credit payments — imposed a new workload on the agency over the past two years.

That’s on top of an IRS workforce that is the same size it was in 1970, though the U.S. population has grown exponentially and the U.S. tax code has become increasingly complicated.

A Treasury official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said agency employees have worked 500,000 overtime hours to bring down the backlog.

Agency officials have been asking Congress for increased funding for the agency.

During the 2020 budget year, the IRS processed more than 240 million tax returns and issued roughly $736 billion in refunds, including $268 billion in stimulus payments, according to the latest IRS data.

In that same time frame, 59.5 million people called or visited an IRS office.

In a joint letter addressed to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who heads the Senate Finance Committee, Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Tuesday that the agency has provided over $298 billion in refunds to Americans this year, and electronic returns without errors have been processed within 8 to 21 days.

“Despite this progress, there are real challenges ahead,” the letter said. “Because the IRS entered this filing season with a significant backlog, millions of paper returns received in 2022 have not yet been processed.”

The agency has been working to catch up to the ever-mounting pile of work. The agency entered this year’s tax filing season with 8 million unprocessed returns from 2021, and by the end of this week will have polished off the last of those that didn’t contain taxpayer errors, it says.

Last week, the agency unveiled voice bots to help eligible taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding long wait times.

And in March, the agency announced plans to hire 10,000 new workers. Thus far 1,500 new workers have been hired, according to Treasury.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - SAS planes are grounded at Oslo Gardermoen airport during pilots strikes, in Oslo, Friday, A...
Associated Press

Carrier SAS files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning the announcement of a strike by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The move adds to the likelihood of travel chaos across Europe as the summer vacation period begins. The Stockholm-based […]
2 hours ago
A Somali man carries a child as he and others who fled drought-stricken areas arrive at a makeshift...
Associated Press

Ukraine’s shadow: Deadly crises like Somalia starved of aid

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — More than two dozen children have died of hunger in the past two months in a single hospital in Somalia. Dr. Yahye Abdi Garun has watched their emaciated parents stumble in from rural areas gripped by the driest drought in decades. And yet no humanitarian aid arrives. Shortly after Russia invaded […]
2 hours ago
FILE- Sri Lanka's new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with The Ass...
Associated Press

Sri Lanka PM says talks with IMF difficult due to bankruptcy

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are more complex and difficult than in the past because it is a bankrupt nation, the country’s prime minister said Tuesday. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told lawmakers that recent discussions with a visiting IMF mission were fruitful but not as straightforward as […]
2 hours ago
Associated Press

IEA: High prices, uncertainty will slow growth in gas demand

BERLIN (AP) — The International Energy Agency says high prices for natural gas and supply fears due to the war in Ukraine will slow the growth in demand for the fossil fuel in the coming years. In a report published Tuesday, the Paris-based agency forecast global demand for natural gas will rise by 140 billion […]
2 hours ago
FILE - Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. After the ...
Associated Press

Companies could face hurdles covering abortion travel costs

After the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the federal right to an abortion that’s been in place for half a century, companies like Amazon, Disney, Apple and JP Morgan pledged to cover travel costs for employees who live in states where the procedure is now illegal so they can terminate pregnancies. But the companies gave scant […]
2 hours ago
70-year-old Valentyna Klymenko, who lives alone in her war-damaged building from Russian aerial bom...
Associated Press

Ukrainians displaced near Kyiv fear for war-damaged homes

BORODYANKA, Ukraine (AP) — Valentyna Klymenko tries to return home as late as possible to avoid the darkness of her war-damaged home outside Ukraine’s capital. She visits friends, goes to the well for water or looks for a place to charge her phone. The 70-year-old Klymenko then returns alone to an apartment that used to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
IRS erases last season’s backlog, but still faces 2022 crush