No matter how optimistic we try to be at times, some things happen that definitely drag us down. This is the case with a report released last week by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration concerning the ongoing IRS backlog.
The disheartening part is that so much of what is included in the report is largely pointed in the direction of ‘things didn’t have to be this bad.’ This includes the line that “management has not taken steps to either reallocate staff or realign work to address the backlog of tax transcript requests.” Now, all this began in when COVID hit right in the middle of tax filing season in 2020, so it is understandable that some scrambling would have taken place within the IRS to find new ways to work – you know, like essentially everyone else in the country did at the time. To think that about two and a half years later they are still stuck there, though, just makes one confusedly shrug.
Then there is the increased hiring that the agency announced earlier this year and its ‘surge teams’ that it moved from other departments to help, but the fact that millions of returns are still stuck in the backlog speaks to the level of success those moves have had.
And then there is mail handling equipment that is 20 years old, has been talked about being replaced, but there is no news that indicates this is imminent.
Of course, this then makes one think of the increased funding that the IRS to slated to receive over the next 10 years from the Inflation Reduction Act. And these thoughts clearly pull in two directions – one says that the agency clearly needs it and the other wonders if it will even matter.
The end note here is that this is frustrating. Behind all the agency’s rhetoric and reported actions on this subject, it is clearly still a problem and the dent it has put in the problem is not big enough. It is difficult to come up with any sort of story that justifies still being in this position at this time.
But I felt that it still was worth mentioning (yet again), though, for we do still hear from people who are looking for updates on their tax returns or IRS requests that we simply cannot give because things are just still in this position. So even if optimism is difficult to come by, you can at least know it’s nothing personal.
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