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Millions of Backlogged Tax Returns

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If you are one of the many people wondering what happened to the refund you expected from your 2019 federal tax return, you are not alone. There are millions of taxpayers wondering the same thing.

Covid-19 continues to cause delays for tax returns filed via paper, regardless if the tax return is for a business or an individual. The closure of the IRS’s processing facilities for weeks at the start of the pandemic, and the inability since then to process paper returns in a timely manner by staff working remotely, led to millions of backlogged paper tax returns and unopened mail in 2020. The problem persists to this day (although the IRS reports they did, at least, open the 2020 mail).  

As of March 5, 2021, the IRS still had 2.4 million individual tax returns received last year in the processing pipeline. Including current year returns, as of March 5, 2021, they had 9.2 million unprocessed returns in the pipeline. As it was last year, a lot of these returns are paper, not electronic, returns. The IRS states they are working hard to get through the backlog. They ask that taxpayers not file a second tax return. Just as it was last year, returns filed electronically in 2021 will be processed a lot faster than paper returns. When the paper returns will get processed is a question no one can answer. One thing is certain, taxpayers have become too reliant on filing a paper return, even though e-filing is an option for the majority of taxpayers.  

For those who are due a refund, e-filing is the fastest and most efficient way to file a tax return. If you owe money, filing a paper return may be in your best interest. How do you know what’s best for you? Talk to one of our experts, and we’ll guide you through the process!  

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