oday, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) published an op-ed in the South Bend Tribune addressing IRS delays as Tax Day approaches on April 18.
“Earlier this year, my constituent services team helped a Hoosier named James from Washington County receive a tax refund in the amount of $2,137. That’s not abnormal. Last year, my office helped hundreds of constituents receive cash they were owed from the IRS. What made James’ case unique is that he had been waiting on his refund since 2019,” wrote Senator Young.
In the op-ed, Senator Young encourages Hoosiers experiencing difficulty getting a refund or other issues with the IRS to visit Young.Senate.Gov/Help.
Read the full op-ed here and below:
By: Sen. Todd Young
Earlier this year, my constituent services team helped a Hoosier named James from Washington County receive a tax refund in the amount of $2,137.
That’s not abnormal. Last year, my office helped hundreds of constituents receive cash they were owed from the IRS. What made James’ case unique is that he had been waiting on his refund since 2019.
Tax Day, April 18, is fast approaching in the United States. Unfortunately, the customer service at the IRS has been abysmal in recent years. The IRS has a backlog of more than 24 million tax returns and an inadequate plan to clear the logjam.
The partisan $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which Democrats jammed through in President Biden’s first months, earmarked $1.86 billion for the IRS, but it’s not clear how, or even if, that money has been used to fix the problem.
Only 11 percent of the 282 million calls to the IRS were answered last year. And in 2020, late refunds cost the agency more than $3 billion in interest payments. That figure is only getting bigger.
In addition to fighting for Hoosiers like James to get their refund as quickly as possible, I’ve also been pressuring IRS bureaucrats to fix the larger problems at play. In April of last year, I pressed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about unprocessed returns at various regional offices.
The answers I received were less than satisfying, and I followed up seeking more specifics at the IRS budget hearing a few months later. That line of questioning included a query about the IRS’s employee re-entry program. While most Americans were back to work in-person by last summer, IRS employees continued to work remotely, worsening the already disastrous backlog.
Taxpayers who did everything right have been forced to wait for months if not years to receive money that they are owed. Making matters worse, it is nearly impossible for regular Americans to reach the IRS help line. Last fall, it came to light that a company called EnQ was robo-calling the IRS help line and selling places in the queue for thousands of dollars.
In November, I joined a bipartisan charge against EnQ, calling for the IRS to crack down on this predatory practice.
As I work to help individual filers navigate delays while pressuring the bureaucracy to relieve the backlog, there are things that you can do to ensure you get your refund in a timely manner this year.
First, file as soon as possible. Early filers will almost always get their refunds faster. The last minute crush of returns coming in mid-April can cause delays in processing.
Second, file online and use direct deposit. The vast majority of delays we’ve seen over the last two years have been on tax returns that are mailed in. While there’s no excuse for these delays, you can help yourself by switching to electronic filing with direct deposit. Filing online is safe and secure, and as easy as it has ever been.
Third, collect all documents and ensure your return is accurate before filing. This includes some paperwork you may not be used to. Advance Child Tax Credit letters (Letter 6419) were sent out in December and January. And Economic Impact Payment letters (Letter 6475) were sent in late January. The payments you received from these programs must be included in this year’s filing.
For those needing assistance, the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for the Elderly programs offer free basic tax return preparation to qualified individuals. To locate a VITA or TCE site near you, use the VITA locator tool or call 800-906-9887.
Finally, if you are having difficulty getting a refund or are having other issues with the IRS for tax year 2020 or earlier, please visit young.senate.gov/help and my office will do what we can to ensure you get the money you are owed.