The IRS has seen its budget and staffing shrink drastically over the past decade. That underfunding, combined with pandemic-era responsibilities, has led to a massive backlog. It could cause a headache for some tax filers this season, with refunds potentially getting delayed.
That mound contains 6 million unprocessed returns as of mid-December — with some taxpayers still awaiting refunds after nine months, according to Erin Collins, the national taxpayer advocate.
“Paper is the IRS’s Kryptonite, and the agency is still buried in it,” Collins, the agency’s top watchdog, said in a press release. All told, the IRS had 5 million pieces of correspondence backlogged as of mid-December, the release added.
It’s a sign of the filing season to come, which Collins said she was “deeply concerned” about. While not everyone will see delays in receiving their refunds — the IRS has said online filers should get their refunds in under three weeks — the situation could prove dicey for filers with more complex taxes or who have to submit amended returns.