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Understaffed IRS Predicts Delays In Refunds As ‘Nightmare’ Tax Season Approaches

Understaffed IRS Predicts Delays In Refunds As ‘Nightmare’ Tax Season Approaches

The coronavirus just might cost more than Americans ever could have anticipated, as many won’t see their tax refunds in a timely manner this year due to serious staffing issues at the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, but the filing delays and administrative headaches are expected to surpass last year. which was “one of the worst filing seasons,” according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS. A report from the taxpayer advocate’s office warns of refund delays. The IRS is “in crisis,” the group said

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The IRS budget has declined by 20% since 2010, even as the number of taxpayers increased by 19%. The agency is severely understaffed due to employees sick with COVID19, and finding replacements has proven difficult. Taxpayers, especially those with complex or paper filings, can expect delayed refunds, mistakes, and other issues related to filing.

Despite its limitations, the agency still succeeded in getting multiple rounds of stimulus checks out during the pandemic, as well as monthly childcare tax credit payments to parents. And the IRS also announced it will require people who access and pay their taxes online to enroll in a third-party facial recognition company starting this summer. Even those who have already registered on IRS.gov with a username and password will have to provide a government ID, a copy of a utility bill, and a selfie to ID.me, the Virginia-based identity verification company. You’ll take a video selfie with whatever webcam or mobile device you’re using to sign up, which seems likely to cause problems for people with older hardware or who don’t have access to one, making files issues even more complicated.

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The Treasury Department is hoping for new funding to come through, already making staffing moves in anticipation of getting as much as $80 billion from the Biden administration’s Build Back Better legislation, but until then, the IRS is encouraging Americans to use online resources to file their taxes, as most of the delays and mistakes are related to paper filings.

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