TAX SEASON 2022 — How the IRS Backlog Affects You

Friday, March 25, 2022 – The 2022 tax filing season is in full swing, and the IRS is still dealing with a backlog of millions of 2020 paper returns.

As of late December 2021, the IRS had backlogs of 6 million unprocessed original individual returns (Form 1040 series) and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual returns (Forms 1040-X).  For original returns that were e-filed, the IRS has mostly worked through the backlog.

While mail at the IRS continues to pile up or remain unanswered due to COVID and social distancing restrictions, automated notices continue being generated. If you sent documents responding to an IRS letter, most likely your correspondence is hung up in that backlog, and the automated system is oblivious to it.

Acknowledging that it is overwhelmed, the IRS announced that it is suspending some automated notices until the backlog is worked through. However, if you owe the IRS, the suspension of a notice does not equal a suspension of payment.  If you believe you owe tax, determine what you can pay, make the payment to stop accruing interest and continue to work with the IRS to resolve the issue. On the other hand, if you get a notice and don’t owe, or you have proof you filed your return on time, just hang tight. There isn’t much you can do but wait for the IRS to catch up on the backlog.

Ready to get your 2021 taxes filed?  Electronic filing and direct deposit are the way to go for the fastest refund. Filing electronically with direct deposit and avoiding a paper tax return is more important than ever this year to avoid refund delays. If you need a tax refund quickly, do not file on paper – use software, a trusted tax professional or Free File on For taxpayers with no issues with their tax return, the IRS anticipates most will receive their refund within 21 days of when they file electronically and choose direct deposit.

Even before the backlog caused by the pandemic, getting in touch with someone at the IRS was a challenge.  Consider setting up an online account with the IRS to access your tax records, make and view payments, manage communication preferences, and more.

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