July 22, 2022

Wyden, Colleagues Press IRS on Tax Return Backlog

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said today he has joined Senate colleagues to press the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on the backlog of unprocessed tax returns and express concern about the broader effects of budget constraints on taxpayers in Oregon and nationwide.

We write to express our concern about the unprocessed tax return backlog, ongoing customer service challenges, and the effect of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget constraints on the agency’s ability to serve taxpayers,” Wyden and colleagues wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “While the vast majority of taxpayers, who were able to file electronically, received the refunds they were owed, delayed refunds can pose a significant hardship for the millions caught in the backlog.”

In the letter, Wyden and colleagues noted that budgetary cuts and staff shortages – exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which temporarily shuttered IRS operations – led to agency-wide delays that have hit millions of Americans and small businesses. Last month, the National Taxpayer Advocate reported that 21.3 million tax returns remain unprocessed, 7 percent more than at the same time last year.

Since 2010, Republican led budget cuts shrunk the agency’s funding by 20 percent even as the number of individual tax filers grew by 19 percent. Congress also charged the IRS with setting up new COVID-19 relief programs, which further strained the agency.

The letter was led by U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. Alongside Wyden, the letter was joined by U.S. Senators Mark Warner, D-Va., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

The full text of the letter is here.