The Internal Revenue Service is going to fail to meet a self-imposed deadline to relieve a massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns. The agency was hoping to solve the issue by the end of 2022.

According to a statement by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS will continue to deal with the backlog into 2023.

“Our assessment of the remaining inventory and increased production levels indicates that the IRS will not meet all of its goals by the end of Calendar Year 2022 and will continue to have a backlog into the 2023 Filing Season.”

The IRS released a statement saying that the report does not account for its most recent efforts to reduce the backlog of unprocessed returns.

“Much work has been done in the last several weeks and will continue to be done in the weeks ahead to make progress to address the remaining inventory and to ensure that the agency does not face such challenges in the future.”

The problem intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic, when adjustments in tax filings and shutdown directives resulted in an overflow of returns. In June, the surplus of returns peaked at 20.5 million but fell to 10.5 million at the end of October. In November, it was reported that millions of Americans were still waiting for 2021 tax refunds.

“I look at the numbers and see millions of taxpayers that are still waiting for their returns to be processed,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins wrote via the NTA blog.

Close to three million individual returns and over four million business returns were awaiting initial processing as of October 21.

In August, Democrat lawmakers assigned $80 billion to the IRS in an effort to increase its staff, deal with tax fraud, and update its systems.


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