Growing IRS backlog may delay refunds

May 11, 2021

The IRS is falling behind in processing millions of income tax returns, potentially delaying refunds for many Americans.

According to the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent arm of the IRS focused on tax filers' rights, the agency is holding almost 31 million returns for manual processing just ahead of the May 17 tax filing deadline. That backlog has grown by 2 million returns since mid-April, when the  number of tax returns held up for manual processing had reached about 29 million. 

Some of those returns are paper tax filings from 2019, which the IRS got behind in processing due to the coronavirus pandemic last year. But much of the backlog also consists of 2020 tax returns, which are still flowing into the IRS. Find out more.


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