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KiplingerJan 26, 2022
Why This Tax Filing Season Could Be Ugly
During last year's tax-filing season, fewer than 10% of taxpayers who called the IRS were able to get a representative on the phone. Millions of taxpayers still haven't received their 2020 refunds. Kiplinger's spoke with Erin Collins, the IRS National Taxpayer Advocate, about what taxpayers can expect during this year's filing season.

What were the primary reasons for IRS backlogs in 2021, and will the situation improve this year? The last filing season was extremely difficult for many taxpayers, practitioners and the IRS. At the end of 2020, more than 11 million tax returns had not been processed, and that carried over to 2021 season. We're going to have a similar situation this year. We've also had COVID-19 restrictions for employees, and the IRS has had continued reductions in budgets.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Congress has approved three economic stimulus payments and monthly advance child tax credit payments. How has that affected the IRS's ability to provide customer service? The IRS only has a finite amount of resources. Getting those checks out the door takes staff away from what they need to do every day. I'm concerned that during this filing season, we had the third stimulus check and the advance child tax credit, and there's some confusion over those payments. Some people had a life event where maybe they had a new child or their income changed, which could increase or decrease their payments. The IRS is going to have to reconcile some of those tax returns, and that will require manual processing.

What can taxpayers do to reduce the likelihood that their refunds will be delayed this year? File electronically. That's the easiest thing you can do that will be a time saver. If you're getting a refund, direct deposit really speeds the time to process the pay

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