East Tennessee woman awaits 2020 tax refund amid massive IRS backlog


Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – Thousands of people across Tennessee are still waiting for their tax returns. You may be one of them.

The Internal Revenue Service admits it is way behind in processing returns, especially for forms that the agency says are incomplete or incorrect. WATE’s Don Dare spoke to a woman who is waiting for a refund she should have received last year.

Bobbie received this year’s refund within six weeks of filing it electronically. But his statement filed in 2021 is stuck somewhere. Every day when Bobbie goes to her mailbox, she expects to receive her tax return, but so far it hasn’t arrived. His Form 1040-SR was submitted electronically in the spring of last year. She asked for a check, not a direct deposit.

She tried to get in touch with the local IRS office, but she couldn’t reach anyone on the phone.

“I tried to call and couldn’t reach anyone. All this does this and does that. I’m not a computer person,” Bobbie said.

For her 2021 refund, she received it with no problem despite waiting for the 2020 return.

“Still pending. I don’t know if it was stolen or sent. You know, that’s what I was worried about,” Bobbie said. “It’s terrible. You wake up at night with taxes on your mind. It can have you.

His return is long. 2020 is the year her husband died. For privacy reasons, we are not revealing Bobbie’s last name. 2020 was also the year she sold land in front of her house. She contacted her accountant, the company that completed the declaration.

“All they said was I wasn’t the only one waiting for a tax refund,” Bobbie said.

In June, the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS, expressed “concern about the continued delays and the impact on taxpayer refunds.” The CAS said “the backlog is crushing the IRS, its employees and, most importantly, taxpayers.” The service wrote that “top challenges for taxpayers this year have included return processing delays, correspondence processing delays, and difficulty reaching the IRS by telephone.”

” I do not know what to do. I did everything I knew how to do, but still no help,” Bobbie said. She added that the one-and-a-half-year wait seems a bit excessive.

The National Taxpayer Advocate reports that there are phone challenges. The NTA report indicates that during the 2022 filing season, the IRS received approximately 73 million phone calls. Only one in 10 calls reached an IRS employee. The average taxpayer’s wait time has gone from 20 minutes to 29 minutes.

Apparently, processing paper tax returns has eaten up taxpayer refunds. At the end of May, the agency had a backlog of 21 million unprocessed paper tax returns, an increase of 1.3 million from the same period last year.

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