A group of 81 House Democrats pressured the IRS on Friday to develop a plan to address what the agency itself has called a significant “frustrating” backlog in tax returns that threatens to delay refunds for the 2022 filing season.
Led by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), the lawmakers warned a delay in refunds due to the processing backlog is “causing taxpayers severe financial hardships and loss” — with many missing key tax documents needed to place a down payment on a mortgage or apply for student aid.
“No taxpayer should have to lose out on the opportunity to purchase a home and or enroll in college because they are waiting for their returns to be processed,” the lawmakers said in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.
Both the IRS and its watchdog agency, the Taxpayer Advocate Service, have warned of likely processing delays for the upcoming tax season. The IRS had a backlog of more than 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended returns as of mid-December.
The IRS did not immediately return The Post’s request for comment on the letter.
The lawmakers noted that understaffed offices have left taxpayers with “an inability to even reach an IRS customer service representative” and caused an uptick of inquiries to local branches of the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
“We therefore urge the IRS to create a plan to efficiently and effectively process the backlog in mailed tax returns, as well as to assist TAS in the hiring and training of new taxpayer advocates, and to advise Congress of that plan,” the lawmakers added.
Earlier this month, Rettig warned of a “frustrating” filing season for taxpayers as the agency contends with staffing shortages and a massive increase in phone calls.
“In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs. This is frustrating for taxpayers, for IRS employees and for me,” Rettig said in a statement.
Meanwhile, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins said the public could face “even longer delays” this year.
The IRS will begin accepting tax returns for the 2022 filing season on Jan. 24. The filing deadline for most taxpayers is April 18.