NEW YORK — The Internal Revenue Service isn’t prepared to handle the workload because the deadline for submitting federal tax returns is Monday.
If you’re expecting a refund, expect it to take some time. Budget cuts and COVID-19 disruptions are to blame since the IRS’s workforce has dwindled to less than 80,000 individuals, the same amount as it was nearly half a century ago.
It’s tax day, which means it’s time to file. If you’ve been working on your tax return for a few weeks and have had to call the IRS for assistance with a problem, you know things aren’t exactly moving at a breakneck pace.
“Our hold times can range from 30 to 40 minutes on average,” said Ken Corbin, the IRS’s chief taxpayer experience officer.
In a letter to Congress, the IRS disclosed that only approximately 20% of callers were getting through to live agents at times this month, which is an improvement over 2021, when only 11% of calls were answered.
The reasons include a cut budget, equipment, staff shortages, and a significant backlog.
“They’re starting the tax year with 3 million tax returns to finish from last year, and then the tidal wave arrives this year, of course,” CBS News Congressional correspondent Scott McFarlane said.
The IRS budget, according to McFarlane, has been a victim of Congress.
“Some federal leaders have found it politically advantageous to shrink the IRS. Going home and telling your supporters that the IRS was slashed is not only politically acceptable; it may even be advantageous politically, “According to McFarlane.
The IRS is hiring more employees, but they won’t be ready for tax season.
“Thousands of new personnel are still needed, in my opinion. We have an aging workforce, and we understand that we must plan for the future, “Corbin remarked.
People who refuse to file electronically may be the single factor that slows things down the most.
“We discovered that roughly 2 million people in New York, 1 million or 2 million people in New Jersey, and half a million people in Connecticut still file on paper, the IRS’ Kryptonite. They have the same amount of processors to handle paper and phone calls, so they are juggling both, “According to McFarlane.
Nonetheless, as of April 8, more than 70 million refunds had been granted, with the average return about 10% greater than the previous year.
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It has already risen to about $3,200.