IRS Agrees to Senators’ Call to Address Backlog, Reduce Delays, Maximize Efficiency

Mar 29, 2022

Senator and bipartisan colleagues urged the IRS to take effective actions to maximize current workforce and reduce harmful tax return delays

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and a bipartisan group of her Senate colleagues presented the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with effective solutions to address the current IRS backlog, reduce tax return delays for the current 2021 tax season, alleviate staffing shortages, and maximize efficiency. The IRS and Treasury announced several efforts to add additional surge teams to help process the backlog and improve customer service.
“We’re pleased the IRS has heeded our call and taken action to help address the harmful backlog, help Arizonans get the assistance they need, and allow Arizonans to get their hard-earned money back in their pockets,” said Sinema.
Sinema asked the IRS to pursue effective actions to maximize their current workforce, including clarifying IRS overtime policies for different positions working on the backlog, maximizing overtime options for staff, allowing additional employees to volunteer in surge teams, and extending overtime options for additional surge team employees.
Click HERE to read Sinema’s bipartisan letter.
Sinema continues to hear from Arizonans who are still waiting on their 2020 tax returns to be processed by the IRS, are missing refunds or Child Tax or Economic Stimulus payments, or have questions about filing their 2021 tax returns with few options to reach an IRS employee for assistance. Although the IRS announced on February 9, 2022 that they would be suspending automated collection and balanced due notices for both businesses and individual taxpayers, this action is not likely to make a meaningful impact on the backlog or Arizonans’ difficulty in reaching a live person at the IRS. On February 11, the IRS reported their backlog of 2020 tax returns was closer to 24 million, rather than the previously reported 10 million returns estimated in January. On February 25, the Senator’s office also teamed up with the Taxpayer Advocate Service to host a webinar for Arizona taxpayers about how to file their 2021 tax returns.
In December 2020, Sinema urged the IRS and the U.S. Department of Treasury not to punish Arizonans affected by the coronavirus pandemic for IRS delays, and waive late filing penalties for Arizona taxpayers. The coronavirus pandemic created major challenges for taxpayers, preventing many from filing timely tax returns, making timely tax payments, and responding to IRS inquiries. The months-long shut-down of many IRS services created huge mail backlogs, where some Arizona taxpayers who did file and pay in-time, were still sent a “notice of intent to levy” and sometimes actual penalty notices.