Millions still waiting for tax refunds as IRS backlog grows due to pandemic

Millions of Americans are waiting for their income tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.

CPAs say that around 35 million tax returns have not been processed, compared to eight million that were not processed by the end of last year.

Many felt like 2020 was an exceptional year, but then 2021 came along.




“It’s just one of those things that are causing CPAs, myself including, so much stress this year,” CPA Garrett Wagner told RochesterFirst. “Last year we thought it was bad the IRS by the end of 2020 failed to process around eight million tax returns. We thought that was bad. As of June 2021, the IRS has not processed 35 million tax returns, just an astounding number.”

One of the core issues at play is the staffing issues at the IRS. That’s not an unusual problem for any business, but when you’re the IRS the expectations are higher.

“The IRS for years has been short-staffed. When COVID hit, like a lot of organizations, it hit them really hard. We’ve talked about other places that have been hit by this. The IRS was hit super-hard by the shutdown,” Wagner added. “Then we got those three rounds of recovery and rebate checks, which were great, but they had the IRS diverting their attention from other places.”


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