IRS Backlog

The Internal Revenue Service warned of a “frustrating” tax filing season in the coming weeks as the agency contends with a backlog of returns, staffing shortages and a massive increase in phone calls from taxpayers.

The IRS cautioned it is still working on “prior-year individual tax returns that have not been fully processed.”

“In many areas, we are unable to deliver the amount of service and enforcement that our taxpayers and tax system deserves and needs. This is frustrating for taxpayers, for IRS employees and for me,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “IRS employees want to do more, and we will continue in 2022 to do everything possible with the resources available to us.”

The agency said it will accept individual tax returns for 2021 on Jan. 24, with a filing deadline of April 18 for most taxpayers.

The IRS regularly enters filing season with a backlog of approximately 1 million tax returns from the prior year, but the logjam appears to be significantly worse this year. Treasury Department officials warned the agency faces “enormous challenges,” with a backlog “several times” higher than normal.