IRS Delays and Backlogs: What a Scary New Internal IRS Report Reveals

The recent government shutdown wreaked havoc on a variety of federal agencies, including, of course, the IRS. This all happened at the worst possible time — while IRS employees were dealing with the fallout of the new tax bill.

A recently released National Taxpayer Advocate Annual Report to Congress reveals that the shutdown-related challenges faced by the IRS have proven far worse than most of us could have anticipated. A few of the biggest concerns highlighted in this report are outlined below:

Processing Backlogs

As of January 24th (the day before the shutdown ended), the IRS had failed to process over 5 million pieces of mail and over 87,000 amended tax returns. Additionally, over 80,000 responses had yet to be addressed for audits of returns involving the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Reduced Phone Service

A quick comparison between phone service in fiscal years 2018 and 2019 reveals stark differences prompted by the shutdown. During the 2018 filing season, the IRS accounts management phone line answered 86 percent of all calls routed to an assistor. In the first week of the current year’s filing season, however, that rate plummeted to just 48 percent. Even after IRS employees returned to work, phone service saw only modest improvements.

The full effects of the shutdown may not be evident for some time, but it’s already clear that it has greatly harmed both the IRS and taxpayers throughout the nation. Experts anticipate ongoing issues related to the shutdown, making an already complicated tax filing year that much worse.

As you deal with the fallout of the government shutdown, remember: you don’t have to go it alone. With the Highland Tax Group on your side, you can resolve your most anxiety-inducing tax concerns. Call 720-398-6088 today to discover how we can help.