Good Question: are you still waiting on last year’s tax refund?

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This week’s Good Questions are about tax season.

A viewer told News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: "Still waiting for an amended return refund that was RECEIVED by IRS on MARCH 29 2021. I was advised last time I actually spoke to a person…that they "hope" to have it processed by MARCH 2022. I was wondering how this may effect this year’s returns….now we know!!"

The viewer is right. The IRS is swamped.

Somers talked with tax expert Jim Schnell from the local firm Mengel Metzger Barr about this issue.

Schnell: It’s really at an unprecedented level.

There are millions of people stuck in the IRS backlog from last year.

Schnell: Within that 6-8 million unprocessed are returns from 2020 that got pulled because of a specific issue or something that needed to be followed up on, a discrepancy if you will on the reporting.

The good news, Schnell says, is the IRS is great at catching mistakes, correcting them, and getting you the right and perhaps bigger refund. It just takes a lot of time to sort through. Want to point the blame at something? You can start with the pandemic.

Schnell: Many of the IRS offices are still operating remotely. Some of them for the most part have not been during the whole two years of COVID. That has really thrown a logjam in who is opening the mail, who’s processing it, who’s logging it in, getting it on the right path and into the right portal.

There are also staffing shortages. Last year fewer than 15,000 workers had to handle 240 million calls.
The IRS workforce is also the same size as it was in 1970 with a budget nearly 20% less than 10 years ago.

Just recently, the IRS sent out a list of “Top 5 Things to Remember" for taxpayers on what documents to pull together this year and what to do if your 2020 returns still have not been processed.