If you haven’t gotten your 2020 tax refund, you aren’t alone.

At the end of the 2021 filing season in May, the IRS had a backlog of 35 million tax returns that still needed to be manually processed, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Taxpayer Advocate, a government watchdog.

The backlog includes about 16.8 million paper tax returns, some 15.8 million returns suspended for further review and 2.7 million amended returns. The backlog is nearly three times larger than it was in 2020, and a fourfold increase from 2019.

he 2021 tax filing season started late and was extended an extra month due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To make matters worse, the agency was inundated with phone calls and unable to keep up. During the 2021 filing period, the IRS received 167 million phone calls, four times more than during the 2019 season. As a result, only 9% of calls were answered by a live customer service representative.

President Biden is also pushing for additional IRS funding to deal with the growing tax gap, and specifically to crack down on the wealthy that skirt taxes. The latest bipartisan infrastructure deal included more money for the IRS for this purpose.


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