IRS: COVID-19, reduced staffing lead to delays in tax returns

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — The IRS is holding at least 29 million tax returns for manual processing, which may delay tax refunds for many Americans, according to the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent arm of the tax agency that looks out for consumers’ interest.

In a recent notice, the IRS said that some people may experience a longer than average wait for their payments. That may especially impact tax returns that need a correction due to changes made by the Recovery Rebate Credit — a tax credit adjustment for people who were owed more stimulus money — or to verify income for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit, according to the agency.

“This work does not require us to correspond with taxpayers but does require special handling by an IRS employee, so in these instances, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund,” the IRS said in a March 18 post

Dan Gertrude, a certified public accountant and business owner, attributes tax return delays to reduced IRS staffing.

“The IRS is significantly understaffed, if you go back to the beginning of the tax season, you weren’t permitted to file a tax return until February 12; that was a couple weeks late to start with, Gertrude said. “So with the IRS having less manpower than they need, with limited resources, everything is simply getting delayed.”

Gertrude recommends Americans file their return electronically to help reduce delays.

“What you really need to do is make sure when you’re filing your tax return you’re doing it electronically, and you also put your banking information so that you can get your refund wired directly into your bank account. That is the quickest way to get your money and you’re helping the IRS help you,” Gertrude said.

The tax filing deadline is Monday, May 17.

Individuals can check the Where’s My Refund? tool at IRS.gov or through the IRS2Go Mobile App to get the status of their tax return.

Watch the full interview in the player above.

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