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Income Tax

We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us this tax season.

Rettig, Charles P. (Charles Peter)

This tax season, the IRS is still dealing with massive issues. In order to be ready for filing day on April 18, our hardworking staff has done everything they can. Our immediate goal is to streamline the tax filing process for taxpayers, to answer as many queries as possible, and to reduce the amount of historical inventory we have on hand.

While preparing for the upcoming tax season, millions of Americans are still awaiting the processing of their prior year’s returns and the delivery of refund checks in the mail. In the meanwhile, our staff is doing everything they can to address these pressing issues and I am fully dedicated to restoring normal inventory levels by next year.

In our current condition, the IRS does not have a long-term source of funding, which adds to our difficulties. When it comes to unprocessed returns, we have taken extraordinary measures, including mandatory overtime for IRS employees, the creation and redirection of surge teams, and temporary suspension of some automated compliance notices. We have also modernised operating systems to speed up manual processing.

We were all hit with COVID. With chronic underfunding and unprecedented obstacles from the pandemic, the IRS worked as hard as possible, despite considerable resource challenges and a significant increase in responsibility. It has been an honour to lead the IRS since 2018 as we delivered more than $1.5 trillion in refunds, stimulus payments, and advance payments of the Child Tax Credits — all when the pandemic was at its worst. We are honoured to serve our country since our work touches more people than any other business or public sector organisation.

More than 4 million refunds totaling over $10 billion have been been issued by the IRS.

for the current tax season as of February 4. Despite this, millions of people are still awaiting the processing of their tax returns, and many will be unable to contact us if they have any questions throughout this filing season. Taxpayers and we are both annoyed by this.

We’d like to do more, but we’re up against formidable obstacles. Nearly 20% of the IRS’s budget has been slashed during the past decade. Despite a 60 percent rise in the population of the United States and an extraordinary increase in duties, the agency currently employs the same number of people as it did in the 1970s. Over 90% of the 160 million individual returns are filed online, resulting in millions of time-consuming and manually processed paper returns.

We’ve seen it all throughout our economy: advances in technology can boost the productivity of employees and enterprises alike. The IRS will be unable to provide the level of service that taxpayers expect and deserve if it does not get stable, long-term financing.

Taxpayers in the United States suffer when the Internal Revenue Service is unable to provide the quality of service it should, and this affects the IRS’s capacity to enforce tax laws against extremely affluent individuals. Even though we received 120 million calls last year (sometimes at a pace of 1,500 per second) during tax season on specific phone lines, our small staff was only able to answer less than 20% of those calls. Taxpayer assistance centres have seen a severe decline in personnel over the past few years, resulting in fewer than a third of the number of taxpayers being able to receive face-to-face assistance from the IRS.

There are a number of methods to make this year’s tax season go more smoothly.

With direct deposit, e-filing can reduce the time it takes for processing, refund delays, and subsequent IRS notices. If you got Economic Impact Payments or an advance Child Tax Credit in 2021, you should pay additional attention. This year, the IRS has sent out more than 150 million letters of information. As a result, the accuracy of the information reported will be improved.

Realistically, at the IRS, we’re aware that we need to improve, and we’re committed to improving. Everything our staff can do is. However, we do require assistance. The IRS will remain stifled and unable to give taxpayers with the service they deserve if they do not receive long-term, stable financing, as several of the agency’s top officials have stated repeatedly over the last decade.

About the author

Leo K. Nelson

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