Pressure from lawmakers mounts as IRS enters new tax season with ‘continuing confusion’ | national

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The central square – Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pressing the Internal Revenue Service over lingering issues and unresolved issues from last year’s filing season, even as this year’s season is in full swing.

A bipartisan group of more than 100 U.S. House and Senate lawmakers sent a letter to the IRS raising concerns about “continued confusion” and “numerous issues” with the agency.

“We remain concerned that the IRS does not have a comprehensive plan to address the many issues affecting taxpayers, despite the fact that this filing season is already well underway,” the lawmakers wrote to the IRS Commissioner. IRS, Charles Rettig. “For example, there is continued confusion about which notices can be suspended unilaterally by the IRS, beyond notices the IRS has already suspended, among other issues.”

The problems began following President Joe Biden’s Child Tax Credit, a monthly payment program that began last summer and continued through the end of the year. This federal program, administered by the IRS, distributed monthly payments to parents based on the age and number of their children.

The heavy bureaucratic undertaking, along with the distribution of stimulus checks, has caused significant delays at the IRS.

The National Taxpayer Advocate (NTA) released its federally commissioned report in December, which indicated that the IRS had 6.2 million unprocessed individual returns, 2.4 million unprocessed amended individual returns, 2 .8 million unprocessed business returns and 427,000 amended business returns. The NTA also reported that the IRS had about 4.75 million unprocessed pieces of correspondence from taxpayers.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee sent a letter to the IRS in February with a similar theme, demanding that the IRS address bureaucratic issues. These Republicans also pointed to “COVID-19-related telecommuting policies” allowing most IRS employees to work remotely.

“For many Americans, their tax refund can equal six weeks of net income,” the letter says. “The volume of tax returns and refunds made each year shows the significant impact processing delays could have for the average American. Processed returns are also critical for those who may be eligible to apply for other benefits. such as loans administered by the US Small Business Administration, so it is imperative that the IRS take steps to mitigate any processing delays, which can delay repayments and access to economic assistance programs.

Congressional investigations have put constant pressure on the agency. A bipartisan group of 214 lawmakers sent a letter to the IRS and the Treasury Department in January highlighting the negative impact on small businesses.

“In many cases, the late processing of amended returns has been devastating to small businesses in our communities whose applications for emergency loans from the Small Business Administration were caught in limbo nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter read. . “The situation has deteriorated to the point that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will no longer accept cases involving only the processing of amended returns. This has made it impossible for frustrated taxpayers to find help.

The IRS issued an “urgent reminder” in January, warning Americans to file electronically “to expedite refunds” this year.

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