The backlog of returns that the IRS still had to process since last year’s tax filing season has been pretty staggering. The most surprising thing about it may be that there was never a time when it seemed like the agency was about to catch up. Never was it able to say when it thought the returns would be finished and absolute dates remained ever elusive. Then last week, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins released a report that at the end of May the IRS had a backlog of 21.3 million unprocessed tax returns, an increase of 1.3 million over the same point in 2021.
So yeah, things aren’t getting better.
Of course, the IRS itself is spinning the story a bit, not focusing on the number of returns it still must work on, instead making its headline that it expects to be done with returns filed in 2021 this week. That’s right, it only took them a full six months into 2022 to get to that point.
So, what does any of this actually mean?
First, if you are still one of the people waiting for taxes you filed last year to be taken care of, you will at least have that worry alleviated soon. At the same time, however, if you are someone waiting to have a tax return you filed this year taken care of, it seems impossible to say with any certainty when this will happen. The best bet appears to actually be that it might take another calendar year
It remains difficult for us to give any definite advice on how to deal with things if you still have paperwork in the pipeline. We know that it doesn’t sound good to just be told that you must wait, but there isn’t much more to be done. When the queue being worked through is in the range of 20 million returns, that just takes time. And the amount of time it may take can be high.
I will try to give some solace, though, for at least you are not alone, and it is known you are not alone. The IRS is aware of its issues, so it is not like this waiting period is going to single out for some potential extra treatment or attention. Also, with the problems being from issues on their end, you are not racking up penalties or anything.
All right, I know it’s small solace, and quite possibly none at all, but it’s just where we are right now.
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