Staffing challenges at the IRS continue to hurt its ability to sort through 8.4 million unprocessed returns, a backlog that has only worsened since years prior, according to TIGTA in a report released on May 2, 2022, analyzing this year's filing season.
During Calendar Year 2022, the IRS expects to receive 160.7 million individual income tax returns.
As of March 4, 2022, the IRS received 54.7 million tax returns, of which 53.2 million (97.2 percent) were electronically filed. Refunds totaling $129.2 billion have been issued. As of March 4, 2022, 1.2 million Free File returns were received, which is a 30.3 percent decrease as of the same period last year.
However, significant staffing shortages continue to hamper the IRS’s efforts to address backlog inventories and affect the IRS’s ability to ensure that current year tax returns are processed timely.
More Than 8.4 Million Individual Tax Returns and Transactions Remained To Be Processed
as of the End Of Calendar Year 2021.
In addition, more than 8 million cases remained in Accounts Management. This represents a 33 percent increase in the number of unprocessed tax returns and a 61 percent increase in the number of amended tax returns that remained to be processed.
- As of March 15, 2022, the IRS onboarded 521 Submission Processing employees, which is 9.5 percent of its hiring goal of 5,473.
- The IRS also continues to experience shortfalls in hiring in the functional area responsible for providing taxpayer tax account assistance.
- For example, as of March 17, 2022, the IRS onboarded 3,827 Accounts Management employees, which is 76.5 percent of its hiring goal of 5,000 for the 2022 Filing Season.
The IRS continues to offer self-assistance options that taxpayers can access at any time, including its IRS2Go app, YouTube videos, and interactive self-help tools on IRS.gov. In addition, the IRS offers Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
As of March 4, 2022, taxpayers made 35.9 million total attempts to contact the IRS by calling the various customer service toll-free telephone assistance lines.
The IRS reports that
- 7.4 million calls were answered with automation, and
- telephone assistors answered 2.7 million calls and
- provided a 19.5 percent Level of Service with a 24-minute Average Speed of Answer.
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