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Millions of Americans have yet to receive tax refunds for 2019: what is the reason

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) still has not processed millions of tax returns for 2019, writes Yahoo.

Photo: Shutterstock

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the tax season upside down last year, and even now, millions of people are still grappling with the consequences. In mid-February, the IRS said it still has 30 million personal income tax returns for 6,7 to process as of January 2019.

The processing of these returns - and any refunds associated with manual processing - may require additional verification, corrections, and some ID theft issues when the IRS needs to work with taxpayers.

Most 2019 federal income tax returns have been processed. But the challenges that remain are significant. The House Ways and Means Committee is urging the IRS to extend the 2020 tax filing deadline beyond April 15.

No one wants to wait a year for a federal income tax refund. This is money that many people often use to pay holiday bills, winter utilities, and even visit a doctor after not seeing him for a long time due to a lack of money.

But amid the economic uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, there are even more challenges for those who lost their jobs and were expecting additional tax refunds many months ago. Some people also said that they had problems getting financial aid in connection with the coronavirus.

Erroneous tax notices

The confusion continued into 2021. In early February, the IRS sent out notices to approximately 260 taxpayers nationwide, claiming that people had not yet filed their 000 tax return.

The problem is that many of these taxpayers filed their returns on time, but the IRS has not yet processed them. The IRS later released a statement that essentially advised not to panic and not respond to such notifications.

Naturally, many taxpayers who received these notifications were nervous. Notices are automatically generated by IRS systems, but taxpayers have tried to consult with their tax advisors to confirm if their notice was sent in error, as many returns were sent but not processed.

COVID-19 sent IRS agents home

The IRS, like many other companies, had to quickly find ways to work remotely during the pandemic. But many things did not go very smoothly. IRS processing centers closed at the start of the pandemic last year. Piles of documents lay untouched for months. Last year, the IRS acknowledged delays associated with filing paper returns.

However, delays are not limited to paper declarations. The tax authorities and taxpayers told the Free Press that they were filing electronic documents and were still unable to resolve their situations last year. Some of those who filed electronically expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of tax refunds on their 2019 tax returns.

Last August, the IRS announced interest payments to 13,9 million taxpayers who faced unusual tax refunds in 2020. According to the IRS, interest refers to those who filed their returns in 2019 by the July 15th last year deadline and either received a refund late or will receive refunds in the future.

Mail delays and fraud alerts

“We are seeing delays across the board with the IRS,” said Lisa Paul, director of taxation at Rehmann in Grand Rapids. According to her, if, for example, the IRS sends a notification on any issue, then the resolution of the issue may take 60-90 days longer than usual.

She suggested that the IRS shifted some of its resources last year to working with employers who needed to file revised reports in order to take advantage of some new coronavirus regulations that could give employers more money. Such efforts, she said, could divert resources that would normally help some people.

Mail delays generally do not speed up the process. In addition, fraud detection filters flag reports that also require written correspondence. Such a filter can delay refunds for up to 120 days from the time the issue is resolved. Many of these problems began a year ago when the IRS needed to take social distancing measures to combat the pandemic.

On the subject: The IRS has extended the deadline for paying taxes for residents of some states

Where are the IRS workers now

Some of the IRS offices have already opened and are open by appointment, but some remain closed. IN The IRS said the new offices will open when resources become available and the restrictions will be lifted.

Taxpayers who continue to wait for a refund and face other problems can also contact Taxpayer Interests Protection Service, an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers with problems they cannot solve with the IRS.

The IRS said operations are open to mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence.

However, COVID-19 continues to cause delays in the provision of some services, including real-time phone support, processing tax returns on paper, answering letters from taxpayers, and reviewing tax returns, even if filed electronically.

The IRS reported online: “We process all responses in the order in which we received them. Although we open mail at normal times, these responses take longer than usual to process due to social distancing and resource constraints. ”

As of January 30, the IRS had approximately 65 employees working remotely, either part-time or full-time. Approximately 000 IRS employees report to the IRS facility either part-time or full-time. About 27% of this group - 500 employees - are assigned to processing centers.

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IRS is working to solve problems

While many tax professionals say the 2020 tax issues continue to be addressed, others say they still hear questions from disgruntled customers about why their tax refunds have not arrived yet.

Taxpayers are encouraged to keep checking the tool “Where's my refund?”At for your personal refund status. But the site also has some issues, such as delayed updates.

How long people will have to wait for a 2019 tax refund remains unknown.

“As the return is being processed, it may be delayed due to an error, lack of information, or suspicion of identity theft or fraud. If we can fix this without contacting you, we will, ”the IRS said. - If we need more information, or if you need to confirm that it was you who sent the tax return, we will write you a letter. Resolving these questions depends on how quickly and accurately you answer, as well as on IRS staff trained and working with social distancing requirements to complete the processing of your return. ”

The IRS does not expect a significant delay in processing its 2020 tax returns.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to file their 2020 tax returns electronically and prefers to transfer tax refunds directly to a bank account so that they can be received faster. About 90% of federal income tax returns are filed electronically. You may need to file a paper return if you are married and are looking for help as an injured spouse - say your spouse owes late taxes or late child support payments, or if the IRS rejects your electronic return because someone else already filed a tax return before you and used your Social Security number or dependent's Social Security number.

Experts advise filing your tax return as early as possible, rather than waiting until the last minute. They say that even if your 2019 tax return has not been processed yet, you still need to work on your 2020 tax return.

If necessary, the taxpayer can request an extension by completing Form 4868 if he does not have all the necessary or correct information by April 15. But working on returns early on will help you better understand how much money you need to prepare. Applying for an extension does not extend the time to pay taxes.

Could last year's tax issues affect how well the IRS does this year? Tax specialists said that this is not ruled out.

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