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National Taxpayer Advocate’s Introductory Remarks

I began my service as the National Taxpayer Advocate in March 2020 – just as the IRS and much of society were shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, the effects of the pandemic have brought challenges and opportunities that have affected virtually all facets of tax administration. Today, the IRS is still working to resolve an unprecedented backlog of unprocessed paper tax returns and returns with suspected errors or suspected identity theft; taxpayers are still experiencing unprecedented delays in receiving their refunds; taxpayers continue to face unprecedented challenges in reaching the IRS by phone; and the IRS’s unprecedented delays in processing correspondence are contributing to additional refund delays and taxpayer frustrations.

In my Objectives Report to Congress last June, I wrote that the 2021 filing season “was perhaps the most challenging filing season taxpayers and the IRS have ever experienced.” When I released my Annual Report to Congress six months ago, I wrote that “Paper is the IRS’s Kryptonite, and the agency is still buried in it.” Fast forward to this Objectives Report: It’s Groundhog Day………………..

Read the Full Preface ->

“The IRS has publicly committed to reducing the paper tax return backlog to a ‘healthy’ level by the end of the year, but it has not provided a definition of ‘healthy.’ From a taxpayer perspective, returning to a four-to-six-week refund delivery period is a reasonable definition of ‘healthy.’”

Erin M. Collins, National Taxpayer Advocate