Many taxpayers wondering about the status of their amended tax return filing will unfortunately have to remain patient with the IRS. The National Taxpayer Advocate, Erin Collins, said in a November 10 blog post that the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will not accept new cases where the sole reason for the request is a delay in the processing of amended tax returns. Taxpayers frequently turn to the TAS when they are unable to resolve an administrative issue with the IRS directly. The recent TAS decision was made because “TAS does not accept cases in which we cannot meaningfully expedite or improve case resolution for taxpayers.”
This policy from the TAS will not affect cases where the amended return issue is secondary, and a primary issue meets the advocate services acceptance criteria. Processing times for amended returns has often exceeded 20 weeks, and as of Nov. 6, 2021, the service still had more than 2.7 million unprocessed returns. TAS has issued a directive to the IRS to complete processing of these backlogged returns by Dec. 29, 2021 or provide a detailed plan for working through the backlog.
Amended returns were not the only area in which the IRS was unable to keep up. The IRS was also backlogged on paper and electronically-filed original returns. But there is some good news on this front. In a news release, the IRS said it is opening mail within normal timeframes, and all paper and electronic individual refund claims received prior to April 2021 have been processed if the return had no errors or did not require further review.
As of Nov. 6, 2021, the IRS had 6.8 million unprocessed individual returns. Unprocessed individual returns include tax year 2020 returns with errors, and those returns requiring special handling. Some “special handling” situations include those that require correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount, or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The number of returns needing special handling has dropped to 184,000 individual returns as of November 6. In most cases, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund for these situations, and in some cases the necessary corrections could take 90 to 120 days.
If a taxpayer is contacted by the IRS they are encouraged to respond as quickly as possible to avoid further delays. Individual taxpayers may use the Where’s My Refund?
tool on the IRS website to check the status of their original and amended tax returns. If you have any questions about your tax return or the status of your refund, please contact us