National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins assesses the 2022 filing season and identifies key objectives for the upcoming fiscal year.

Date: June 29, 2022

If you are still waiting to receive a refund from a paper return filed in 2022, there is both good news and bad news according to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s Fiscal Year 2023 Objectives Report to Congress. The report was released on June 23 with the goals of providing an assessment of the 2022 tax season and highlighting the objectives of the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) for the coming year. The report highlights the IRS’s continuing delay in processing paper returns for 2022 and the continuing burden this places on taxpayers who are expecting refunds from these returns, particularly those receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit. The IRS has stated it plans to address the processing backlog in the coming year, but the backlog as of May 2022 is already seven percent larger than it was in May of 2021. Still, despite the discouraging burden of this backlog, TAS and the IRS plan to continue making this
issue a priority and to “explore additional processing strategies” to improve the system.


National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her statutorily mandated Fiscal Year 2023 Objectives Report to Congress. The report presents an assessment of the 2022 filing season and identifies key objectives the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will pursue during the upcoming fiscal year. The report expresses concern about continuing delays in the processing of paper-filed tax returns and the consequent impact on taxpayer refunds. As detailed in the report, the IRS’s backlog of paper-filed returns stood at 21.3 million at the end of May 2022 – seven percent larger than at the end of May 2021. Other key taxpayer challenges this year have included correspondence delays and difficulty reaching the IRS by phone.
“The IRS has said it is aiming to crush the backlogged inventory this year, and I hope it
succeeds,” Collins said. “Unfortunately, at this point the backlog is still crushing the IRS, its employees, and most importantly, taxpayers. As such, the agency is continuing to explore
additional processing strategies.” The report points out that the significant majority of individual taxpayers receive refunds. “At the end of the day, a typical taxpayer cares most about receiving his or her refund timely,” Collins wrote. “Particularly for lower income taxpayers who receive Earned Income Tax Credit benefits, their refunds may constitute a significant percentage of their household income for the year. Thus, these processing delays are creating unprecedented financial difficulties for millions of taxpayers and outright hardships for many.”
Among business taxpayers, many have been waiting extended periods to receive Employee Tax
Retention Credits for which they are eligible in addition to regular refunds. TAS has also posted the IRS’s responses to each of the 88 administrative recommendations the National Taxpayer Advocate made in her 2021 Annual Report to Congress.

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Megan Burtis,
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Law Clerk