Young: ‘IRS customer service has reached an all-time low’ | News
From the office of Senator Todd Young
Earlier this year, my constituent services team helped a Hoosier named James from Washington County receive a $2,137 tax refund.
It’s not abnormal. Last year, my office helped hundreds of voters receive money owed to them by the IRS. What made James’ case unique was that he had been waiting for his refund since 2019.
Tax Day, April 18, is fast approaching in the United States. Unfortunately, IRS customer service has been abysmal for the past few years. The IRS has a backlog of over 24 million tax returns and an inadequate plan to clear the stalemate.
The $1.9 trillion partisan U.S. bailout that Democrats went through in President Biden’s first few months earmarked $1.86 billion for the IRS, but it’s unclear how, or even yes, this money was used to solve the problem.
Only 11% of the 282 million calls to the IRS were answered last year. And in 2020, late repayments cost the agency more than $3 billion in interest payments. This number is only increasing.
In addition to fighting for Hoosiers like James to get their money back as quickly as possible, I also lobbied IRS bureaucrats to fix the bigger issues at stake. In April of last year , I pressed IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig about unprocessed returns at various regional offices.
The responses I received were less than satisfactory, and I went on to seek more details at the IRS budget hearing a few months later. This set of questions included a question about the IRS employee reinstatement program. While most Americans were back to work in person last summer, IRS employees continued to work remotely, adding to the already disastrous backlog.
Taxpayers who did everything right have been forced to wait months, even years, to receive the money they are owed. Worse still, it is almost impossible for ordinary Americans to reach the IRS helpline. Last fall, it emerged that a company called EnQ was calling the IRS helpline and selling seats in the queue for thousands of dollars.
In November, I joined a bipartisan charge against EnQ, calling on the IRS to crack down on this predatory practice.
As I work to help individual filers overcome delays while pushing bureaucracy to reduce the backlog, there are things you can do to ensure you get your refund on time this year.
First, file as soon as possible. First-time filers will almost always get their refunds faster. The last-minute crush of upcoming returns in mid-April may cause delays in processing.
Second, file online and use direct deposit. The vast majority of delays we’ve seen over the past two years have been with mailed-in tax returns. While there’s no excuse for these delays, you can help yourself by switching to e-filing with direct deposit. Filing online is safe and secure, and as easy as ever.
Third, gather all the documents and make sure your return is accurate before you file it. This includes some documents that you may not be used to. Child tax credit advance letters (letter 6419) were sent in December and January. And economic impact payment letters (letter 6475) were sent at the end of January. Payments you received from these programs should be included in this year’s filing.
For those who need help, the IRS’ Voluntary Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for Seniors programs offer free basic tax 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 obtaining a refund or are having other issues with the IRS for the 2020 or earlier tax year, please visit young.senate.gov/help and my office will do everything in its power to ensure that you receive the money that is owed to you.