IRS says processing backlogs will likely delay refunds due to staffing shortages

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The Internal Revenue Service said on Monday that acute staffing shortages will likely delay tax refunds and other services this year as the agency prepares for the 2022 tax filing season, which will begin on January 24. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told reporters that this year’s window for filing tax returns for the year 2021 will run between Jan. 24 though April 18.  Rettig also said that “enormous challenges” faced by the IRS due to severe levels of understaffing will cause delays in many aspects of IRS operations, including sending out refund checks.

Agency officials said they are entering the new filing season with a backlog “several times” the typical level of 1 million unprocessed returns. Staffing issues caused by the pandemic have come in addition to a decade of significant budget cuts to the agency. From 2010 through 2018, IRS funding was cut by 20% in inflation-adjusted dollars, resulting in the elimination of 22% of its staff.

Editorial credit: Rob Crandall / Shutterstock.com

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