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  • Writer's pictureDurham & Durham

Taxpayer Advocate expresses concern about continued refund delays and poor taxpayer service

Key taxpayer challenges this year have included return processing delays, correspondence processing delays, and difficulty reaching the IRS by phone.

“At this point, the backlog is still crushing the IRS, its employees, and most importantly, taxpayers. As such, the agency is continuing to explore additional processing strategies.”

As of May 2022, IRS had a backlog of 21.3 million unprocessed PAPER tax returns.

Over 90% e-file but, 17 million taxpayers filed their returns on PAPER after encountering e-filing barriers. The digits on every paper return must be manually keystroked into IRS systems by an employee creating refund delays to exceed six months, with some 10 months or more. There are still over 6 million waiting to process their 2021 Paper Returns.

The IRS had an additional 15.8 million returns suspended during processing and required manual review by IRS employees. These consisted largely of e-filed returns claiming incorrect Stimulus Amounts Received creating a Recovery Rebate Credit that differed from the allowable amount in IRS records. This resulted in refund delays of six to 10 months or longer.

Taxpayers faced lengthy mail correspondence delays. When a taxpayer receives a notice and is requested to respond, generally you must do so by mail. IRS processed 5 million taxpayer responses to proposed adjustments. It took an average of 251 days to do so – more than eight months. This mailing delay includes all correspondence sent to the IRS, including tax due paid by check sent through the mail.

During the 2022 filing season, the IRS received about 73 million telephone calls. Only one out of 10 calls reached an IRS employee. The time the average taxpayer spent waiting is 29 minutes.

Link to Taxpayer’s Advocate:


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