Tom Ochsenschlager, CPA, JD
A Washington Post article cited a discussion regarding delayed IRS responses with Erin M. Collins, the national taxpayer advocate for the independent Taxpayer Advocate Service of the IRS.
Collins indicated the response problems have been exacerbated due to the backlog of returns that require manual processing (apparently due to the reduction in active employees attributable to the COVID restraints) and the daunting task of issuing millions of stimulus payments. The following are some of the statistics Collins provided related to the correspondence backlog:
- Only one out of every 50 calls to IRS customer service has gotten through;
- There has been a 300% increase in calls to the IRS’ Accounts Management help line;
- The IRS has answered just 2% of the more than 70 million calls to the 1040 help line;
- The IRS has identified 29 million returns for manual processing;
- 8 million 1040 returns were in suspense due to the recovery rebate credit or the earned income tax credit; and
- 7 million 1040s are being held up due to processing or identification errors.
Collins made it clear that the IRS is suffering from limited resources, ergo, they need increased funding.