Nearly 14M Individual Tax Returns Still Need Processing

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The IRS said on Friday it still had 13.8 million individual tax returns that remained unprocessed as of the end of July.

The returns include 2020 returns requiring corrections to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit. Although this work doesn’t require contact with the tax filer, it does mean special handling by an IRS employee, so it could take up to 120 days to finish, the IRS warned. If corrections are made, the IRS will send the taxpayer an explanation. In the meantime, you can check the status of a return with the "Where’s My Refund?" tool on the IRS Website. 

The IRS said all returns that were error-free and required no further review have been processed.

At the end of the tax season, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported that the IRS had a backlog of 35 million business and individual tax returns, which included about 16.8 million paper tax returns waiting to be processed, about 15.8 million returns needing further review, and about 2.7 million amended returns awaiting processing. Since then, the IRS has been playing catch-up.

“The backlog resulted largely from the pandemic-related evacuation order that restricted employee access to IRS facilities,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins said in a statement at the end of June that accompanied the report. Programming changes necessitated by new tax legislation and the responsibility for distributing three rounds of stimulus payments also contributed to the “historically high” number of backlogged returns, she said.

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  1. IRS. “IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-Critical Functions Continue.”

  2. National Taxpayer Advocate. “National Taxpayer Advocate Assesses Tax Filing Season And Identifies Areas For IRS Improvement In Mid-year Report to Congress.”

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