Even as we see some clients still waiting to have their 2020 taxes finalized, the IRS is making a rather serious hiring push to hopefully and finally catch up on that backlog. This has been such a matter of interest/concern to so many (which is understandable if you still don’t know where things stand from LAST year as you try to get your 2021 taxes completed), I thought it was worth giving it mention in this spot this week.
So the good news - the IRS is holding hiring events in three cities (Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Ogden, Utah) this month with the goal of hiring around 5,000 employees. It is then looking to hire another 5,000 over the course of the next year.
But then the bad news – the Ogden hiring event will finish on April 1, which means that we are still looking at a couple of weeks before they even finish seeking prospects, never mind the hiring and training that must follow.
So this is overall a very positive step, just not one that you should expect to bring immediate results.
It seems reasonable to assume that these new hires will not be up to full speed by the end of the current tax filing season, so it seems to stand to reason that the backlog of paper returns could increase a bit by that point. One would hope, however, that it will only be shortly thereafter when the new hires can help decrease that glut and start shining a light from the end of this long, long tunnel.
In another attempt to help those stuck in the backlog, the IRS has also begun to use voice and chat bots on phone assistance lines and IRS.gov, respectively. It will take some time to see how well these work, but it can’t hurt (right?). For those with serious issues, obviously this type of assistance isn’t going to lead you to ultimate answers, but If they can keep some people who can get easy answers off the phones, then at least it can decrease you time spent waiting on the line.
So yeah, this isn’t a blazing warm yellow sun of great news that the agency is caught up and all is back to normal. It is a slight ray of hope, though, and the IRS deserves credit for acknowledging its issues and taking steps to fix them. This will not comfort those who are having problems, but I still wanted to report on what is happening, and give at least some credit where it is due.
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