June 30, 2022 12:26 am

National Taxpayer Advocate’s Mid-Year Report

The National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins released to Congress a mid-year report noting the good things and the bad things about IRS activities as well as to make recommendations for improvement (IR-2022-129). While the IRS continues to work through a serious backlog of paper returns, she noted that as of the end of May there were still 21.3 million unprocessed paper returns (an increase of 1.3 million over the same time last year). This has delayed refunds for many individuals. She suggested that the IRS implement barcoding or other technology for paper returns to speed processing in the future.

Other issues identified by the report:

  • The IRS also was very slow in processing taxpayer responses to IRS correspondence they received (an average of 251 days, or triple the time it took in 2019).
  • IRS telephone responses were very low, with only one in 10 calls reaching an IRS employee. The average wait time was 29 minutes (up from 20 minutes last year).

The report also lists objectives for fiscal year 2023, including include:

  • Automating the processing of paper tax returns.
  • Reducing barriers to e-filing (e.g., accepting required attachments that as yet cannot be filed through tax software products).
  • Improving hiring and training IRS personnel.
  • Improving IRS telephone service.
Tax Glossary


An amount taken from income as a prepayment of an individual’s tax liability for the year. In the case of wages, the employer withholds part of every wage payment. Backup withholding from dividend or interest income is required if you do not provide the payer with a correct taxpayer identification number. Withholding on pensions and IRAs is automatic unless you elect to waive withholding.

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