Congressional lawmakers pushing IRS for answers

Congressional lawmakers are pressing the IRS for answers concerning several issues, including the backlog of millions of unprocessed returns. The group includes Republicans and Democrats from both chambers.

The lawmakers have written to the IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig expressing their concerns about IRS issues.

“We remain concerned that the IRS does not have a comprehensive plan to remedy the numerous problems affecting taxpayers, despite the fact that this filing season is already well underway,” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers want to determine which notices must be issued within a certain timeframe by law and why others still haven't been suspended. The IRS temporarily stopped more than a dozen different types of automated letters, including some letters for unpaid taxes.

“For example, there is continued confusion about which notices may be unilaterally suspended by the IRS, beyond the notices the IRS has already suspended, among other issues,” the lawmakers said.

Clarification has also been asked about the process for penalty abatement for 2020 and 2021 tax returns.

The lawmakers’ letters are supported by many organizations, including the National Association of Enrolled Agents, National Association of Tax Professionals and Association, and Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

"Since the beginning of tax season, the AICPA, members of Congress, and various organizations representing taxpayers and practitioners have urged the IRS to take significant and meaningful steps to mitigate the anticipated challenges of this tax season," said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon.

“The tax season is well underway, and we hope the IRS will heed the widespread calls for meaningful relief and take the necessary steps to ease taxpayers’ burden and frustration,” Melancon said.

The IRS processes about 12 million more individual returns a year than in 2011. However, the IRS full-time equivalent positions have been slashed from about 95,000 in 2011 to the current level of about 75,000. The reduced number of employees has crippled its ability to provide adequate taxpayer services.

The IRS plans to hire 10,000 workers eventually. The IRS will begin hiring 5,000 new employees in the next few months, which will help process more than 20 million unprocessed returns. Unfortunately, the new employees aren't likely to help with processing the returns before the April 18 filing deadline.

Congress approved $12.6 billion for the IRS 2022 budget, which will enable the IRS to hire more employees. The additional employees will improve tax return processing and allow the IRS to better meet taxpayer needs. 

David Zubler is a tax accountant and Enrolled Agent in East Tennessee, providing tax strategies and representing clients before the IRS and has over 25 years of tax experience. He is the author of five tax books and is the founder and president of Your Tax Care. The company provides business and tax education to the public at its website, David has appeared on national tv, and recordings of David’s daily tax tip radio program are also available. David can be reached at (865) 363-3019 or contacted by email at