WASHINGTON, D.C. (WABC) — Congressman Josh Gottheimer held a news conference Monday to raise awareness to the large IRS backlog of six million individual tax returns from the previous tax season, even while the new tax season is underway.
Gottheimer appeared beside local citizens whose federal tax refunds had been delayed for months, claiming that more than 200 of his constituents had approached his office with identical complaints.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve assisted in recovering $1.2 million in tax returns for the citizens of North Jersey,” Gottheimer said. “This morning, I’m announcing my ‘Taxpayer Action Plan,’ which will help remove the bureaucratic red tape that has contributed to the IRS backlog, get these returns completed for Americans, and get their well-deserved taxpayer funds back in their pockets.”
The congressman is also pressing the IRS to increase their employment and training of tax payer advocates, and he wants the agency’s directors to return to Congress within 30 days with a plan for clearing the backlog.
The following steps are included in Gottheimer’s Taxpayer Action Plan:
—Demand that the IRS reform its obsolete system and provide an expedient strategy to process the backlog of millions of tax returns that have been mailed to them.
—Request that the IRS increase resources at the Taxpayer Advocate Service, a division of the agency devoted to the interests of taxpayers, including hiring and training more taxpayer advocates.
—Replace the old, out-of-date IRS tax processing technology developed in the 1960s.
—Request that the IRS provide a strategy to address the backlog to Congress within the next 30 days.
—Assist the Fifth District in reclaiming their tax refunds by working one-on-one with people and families to locate their tax returns and accelerate the refund process.
Currently, approximately 24 million American taxpayers are still waiting for the IRS to process their tax returns from last year, with many refunds taking nearly 11 months to process.
IRS refunds and returns are being delayed, hurting millions of Americans and small companies. When a tax return is delayed, a family may be unable to make a down payment on a home or apply for a student loan because they lack the requisite tax transcript.
Taxpayers should expect significant delays from the IRS, which has formed a second “surge team” to address its large backlog.
To reduce the backlog and resolve taxpayer misunderstanding, the IRS has already reassigned some 1,200 employees back into entry-level clerical positions, where they are manually filing papers and answering phones.
The IRS is dealing with pandemic-induced backlogs from the previous two years, which, along with restricted resources and an increased workload from stimulus initiatives, are making the current tax season busier than usual.
The IRS was tasked by Congress with disbursing billions of dollars in economic assistance benefits such as stimulus payments and monthly enhanced child tax credit payments.
It’s almost time to file your federal tax return, and there are a few changes you should be aware of, including the measures you must follow regarding child tax credit payments.
Taxpayers have also had a tough time contacting someone at the IRS who could assist them with their questions. According to recent studies from the National Taxpayer Advocate and the Government Accountability Office, customer support employees only answered 11 percent of the approximately 282 million phone calls received by the agency last year.
When compared to the previous year, the number of calls more than doubled.