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"The Internal Revenue Service is inundated with the volume of returns yet to be processed and phone calls for assistance, and is working hard to remedy the situation. While there are many factors contributing to this, it is overwhelming to the agency, according to Stephen Mankowski, tax chair of the National Conference of CPA Practitioners, who attended a recent IRS meeting for stakeholders.

“The National Taxpayer Advocate reported they are working to remedy this in multiple ways. The level of service is at its lowest historically, with more calls coming in daily than ever,” he said.

“Hiring and training take time. The automated callback program has been successful, but the number of people in the queue is limited to the number of assistants available,” he said. “The number of calls coming in, particularly regarding the Child Tax Credit, are exacerbating the problem.”

“Paper returns have piled up — there are 5.5 million Form 1040s and over 4 million business returns that have been opened but not processed. The goal is that by year-end, the paper returns will be processed. However, there are an additional 4 million returns anticipated by mid-October,” he said.

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins is empathetic, Mankowski commented. “She truly feels our pain. She understands the taxpayer issues that exist, and the problems getting through to the IRS. She’s dealing with a lot of calls from practitioners and taxpayers trying to get resolution on issues. It’s just a matter of not having enough bodies to do the work."

It will be a miracle if the IRS can get anywhere near normal operations this coming tax season

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