With tax season less than a month away, what was expected to be a difficult filing season for the IRS has gone better than expected — so far.
The IRS processed 5.9 percent more returns at the end of the second week of March compared to the same time last year, despite receiving 3.9 percent fewer returns from taxpayers. According to the most recent statistics, refunds are larger than in 2021. About 97.5 percent of refunds go into direct deposit.
“The good news is for the current tax filings, there’s been no unexpected problems at this point,” National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins, told Yahoo Money. “Electronic returns processed timely and refunds are getting out the door. The biggest challenge the IRS faces is paper.”
Nonetheless, there were some early hiccups with the Child Tax Credit. The IRS is still dealing with a larger-than-usual backlog of individual returns from the previous tax season, which could cause delays for newly received paper returns.
The IRS had processed nearly 98 percent of the 63,474,000 returns it had received as of March 11. Last year at this time, it had processed approximately 89 percent of the 66,065,000 returns received.
In addition to keeping up with processing, the IRS has launched other initiatives to streamline the filing season. It launched a special new online page to provide the most up-to-date details and information about the 2022 filing season. It continues to update its FAQ pages for taxpayers seeking answers.
To help alleviate the historically large tax return backlog, the IRS repurposed 700 IRS employees from the Austin, Ogden, and Kansas City facilities to work on unprocessed paper tax returns. This “surge team” complements the agency’s earlier effort in February. They managed to reassign 800 existing employees to work directly with unprocessed tax returns or correspondence.
“IRS employees have been working tirelessly to process backlogged returns and taxpayer correspondence,” IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said previously. “To ensure inventory is back to a healthy level for next filing season, we are leaving no stone unturned. We take an all-hands-on-deck approach to ensure as many employees as possible are dedicating time to return processing.”