Will Your Tax Return Be Delayed This Year?

The IRS started this tax season with an enormous backlog of tax returns from 2020. While it’s pretty common for them to have some kind of backlog at the beginning of a new tax season, it usually consists of about a million unprocessed returns. This year, they started with a backlog of roughly six million. Should you expect this to delay your own return? And is there anything you can do to help it get processed more quickly? Here’s what you need to know. 

Why Is There a Backlog? 

Why is there even a backlog to begin with? As we already mentioned, the IRS is pretty typically working behind, due in large part to insufficient staffing. As with many businesses, this issue became a lot worse during the pandemic, while also causing the IRS to take on the added responsibilities of issuing stimulus checks and advanced child tax credit payments. When considering these factors, it becomes a bit more understandable that the IRS’s backlog of unprocessed returns would be quite a bit larger than in the past. During the 2021 tax season, more than 30 million taxpayers had their returns and refunds delayed, so the IRS is simply still playing catchup. 

What Are the Odds of Your Return Being Delayed? 

 With only a month left until the tax deadline, delays are going to be much more common for returns filed moving forward than for those filed earlier in the tax season. Most returns filed in January and February were processed and refunds given within 21 days of the return being filed. In fact, the IRS had already processed more than 4.3 million refunds by mid-February. 

But if you still haven’t filed, that doesn’t mean that a delay is guaranteed. Because a great deal of the return review process is automated, it can still be processed quickly, despite the backlog that human workers face within the IRS. The majority of returns should still be processed within a month of filing. 

Tips for a Faster Turnaround Time 

While we can’t guarantee that your tax return won’t be delayed, there are certain things you can do to reduce the likelihood of this happening to you: 


File electronically – As we mentioned a moment ago, automated processing of returns shouldn’t be impacted by the IRS backlog. By filing electronically, you can get your return processed much more quickly than adding it to the stack of unprocessed tax returns on workers’ desks. Double check your calculations – Always double check that your calculations are done correctly. A simple math error can cause significant delays with your return being processed .Opt for direct deposit – If you’re expecting a refund, make sure you’ve opted for direct deposit. You’ll get that income much more quickly than you would waiting for the IRS to cut you a physical check. Carefully compare CTC payments – If you received advanced child tax credit (CTC) payments last year, you should carefully compare the amount you were paid with the IRS’s records of your payments. The IRS should have sent you Letter 6419, which outlines your total payments for child tax credits last year. Address any discrepancies to ensure that you’re reporting this amount correctly. We know this is a new source of income for taxpayers, so it’s essential that you take the time to double check that you’re reporting the correct amount. File as soon as possible – Generally speaking, the sooner you file, the sooner your return will be processed. So, if you still haven’t filed your 2021 tax return, we strongly recommend that you do so as soon as you can. 

If you need professional guidance preparing and filing your return, contact the Provo tax preparers here at The Accounting Guys. We’ll help you complete your return quickly, double check every reported amount and calculation for accuracy, and file it electronically for minimal delays. Contact us now to get started.

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