WASHINGTON (AP) – The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday it will eliminate the backlog of last season’s tax returns by the end of this week.
And with 143 million returns processed since the tax season this year, agency officials say they are more likely to be caught processing all returns by the end of this year.
The agency has faced tens of millions of tax returns and a well-publicized backlog of clogged customer service phone systems, with leaders attributing decades of funding shortages and outdated internal computer systems.
“To date, more than twice as many returns have been awaited for processing compared to a normal year at this time in the calendar year, although the IRS has operated with almost a million more revenues to this day than at this time last year,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.
Conducting pandemic-related programs – including stimulus checks and sophisticated child tax credit payments – has imposed a new workload on the agency over the past two years.
It is above the same size IRS workforce as it was in the 1970s, although the US population has grown exponentially and the US tax code has become more complex.
A Treasury official, briefing reporters on the anonymous situation, said agency employees worked 500,000 hours of overtime to reduce backlog.
Agency officials are urging Congress to increase funding for the agency.
In the 2020 budget year, according to the latest IRS data, the IRS processed more than 240 million tax returns and issued nearly $ 736 billion in refunds, including about $ 268 billion in stimulus payments.
At the same time, 59.5 million people called or visited the IRS office.
In a joint letter to Senate Ron Wyden, D’Or, who heads the Senate Finance Committee, Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeemo and IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said Tuesday that the agency has reimbursed more than $ 298 billion to Americans this year. And electronic returns without errors are processed within 8 to 21 days.
“Despite this progress, there are real challenges ahead,” the letter said. “As the IRS enters this filing season with significant backlog, the millions of paper returns received in 2022 have not yet been processed.”
The agency is working to catch up with the ever-growing pile of work. The agency has entered the tax filing season this year with 20 million unprocessed returns from 2021, and the last of which will have no taxpayer errors by the end of this week will be polished.
Last week, the agency unveiled voice bots to help taxpayers who are eligible to set up or modify a payment plan easily verify their identity while avoiding the long wait.
And in March, the agency announced Plans to hire 10,000 new employees. The Treasury has so far hired 1,500 new workers.