The IRS was struggling to manage a high workload with fewer resources before the Covid pandemic, but its delays have greatly increased as a result of the months’ long shutdown from the pandemic in 2020. The IRS acknowledged 2021 as one of the most challenging years it has had, but with the backlog (including millions of unprocessed income tax returns) and the return filing season having opened on January 24, 2022, this year will be plagued by even more delays.
Knowing this, there are things taxpayers can do to prevent further delays in the processing of their returns, payments, or attempts to resolve some issues with the IRS (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Electronically filing the current year tax return will result it in being processed faster than a paper-filed return.
- Refunds may be processed faster with an electronically filed tax return.
- If possible, file amended income tax returns electronically (this is only available for some prior years’ income tax returns).
- Make payments through the IRS’s online payment system, instead of mailing checks, which take much longer to process and post to an account. Make sure you know how to apply the payment online so it is not applied to the wrong period or tax.
- If you owe money to the IRS and want to set up an Installment Agreement, it generally can be done through the IRS website if your assessed balance (including tax, penalties, and interest) is below $50,000.
- If you need to obtain transcripts from the IRS, you may be able to do so through the “Get Transcript” function on its website. If available, it can save hours of time trying to call the IRS and waiting on hold.
- Information about account balances may also be available if you register through the IRS’s online system.
There are many procedures and issues that can only be resolved either through written communication or phone calls with the IRS. If that is the case, taxpayers need to be aware that everything is taking longer. Depending on the issue, a taxpayer may have to wait months, or sometimes several years, before their issue can be resolved with the IRS.
If you have questions, contact Anderson & Jahde for competent, professional tax help.