We have recently received a number of questions regarding the status of filed returns. Ironically, the National Taxpayer Advocate, Erin Collins, delivered her first report to Congress on June 20, 2020. It is a long read; but eye-opening and a little frightening. This report addressed many of the issues and questions that we have been faced with. https://taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Media/Default/Documents/2021-JRC/JRC21_Objective_Report_Release.pdf
The answer to many of your questions is: in some cases, we can help; but in many others, we cannot because the IRS doesn’t know and can’t find out. At present, there may simply be no answer.
This is not fake news. According to Ms. Collins:
Taxpayers who filed a 2019 paper return and are entitled to refunds may be in for a long wait. The IRS had to suspend the processing of paper tax returns, and as of May 16, it estimated it had a backlog of 4.7 million paper returns. E-filed returns can also be significantly delayed in processing refunds.
Try to imagine what 4.7 million paper tax returns looks like gathering dust (or worse) in IRS facilities.
Try to imagine 10 million pieces of additional paper tax returns and correspondence they have received and been unable to open. Presently, the mail is located in storage trailers at IRS campuses. How long would it take just to open the mail?
Try to imagine the 20 million notices to taxpayers the IRS has not been able to mail. And when they do, they are outdated. The angst and confusion for the taxpayers!
Imagine having your refund denied until you provided more documentation and your response is sitting in a trailer.
Editorial note: If you worked for the IRS, and were collecting unemployment plus $600.00 a week, could you imagine going back to face the mess once the offices are safe for return?
You may want to join those who say they hate the IRS, but it won’t help. The IRS is not to blame. It does not determine how much you pay or how what you do pay is spent. It might help to think of the IRS as a giant archaic machine that processes information. The machine requires people to feed the information in and to turn its many cogs and wheels. Absent the people, the machine can’t operate and the people have been missing for a long time.
There is no point getting mad at the machine. It doesn’t even have an opinion about its own sad situation. The people it requires surely do, but there is no point getting mad at them either. Controlling the complexity of what the machine is required to do or adding up-to-date software to make its cogs and wheels effective would have helped, but its too late now.
For now, our advice to you is simple: Avoid mailing anything to the IRS if at all possible.
Most payments can be made online through IRS DirectPay or electronically when your tax returns are electronically filed by our office for you. A walkthrough of how to use DirectPay and the TSC for CT filers is attached.
For those of you who, like us, want to find out more about the current state of affairs, follow the link: Taxpayer Advocate Service: You won’t know whether to laugh or cry.
We’ve also had to dramatically shift our paradigm, We have always prided ourselves on our personal touches and unfortunately, physical distancing has directed us to more online help for our clients.