COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Tens of millions of tax returns still haven't been processed by the Internal Revenue Service, and Colorado Congressional Representatives Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert have signed on to a letter to the IRS requesting action to address the "severe backlog."
"While the backlog has plagued the IRS for years, it has been exacerbated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic," says the letter to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig. The letter is signed by eight Congresspeople, including Boebert and Lamborn.
The IRS has acknowledged the severe backlog, which totaled more than 35 million unprocessed returns as of July. The IRS cited issues like staffing, new tax laws, the child tax credit, and most importantly: the stimulus checks. Since the agency had to take on the distribution of millions of stimulus checks, representatives with the IRS say it set them back on processing tax returns by several months.
The letter from the representatives "respectfully requests" that the IRS "take additional steps to address" the backlog. The representatives say long wait times for refunds are particularly hard on low-income Americans and those still waiting on stimulus checks. The letter also noted a drop in customer service, saying only about 7% of 167 million calls to the IRS for help were actually answered.
Suggestions in the letter included "reducing the number of IRS employees who are remote working, increasing capacity at call centers, and reprioritizing improved tax administration and taxpayer service." Read the full letter here. (PDF)
We asked Rep. Lamborn's office if the congressman had introduced any legislation to increase funding or resources for the IRS, but none had been written.
According to a report by ProPublica and The Atlantic, funding for the IRS has been slashed, leaving the agency understaffed and operating on old equipment. The budget declined from $14 billion in 2010 to $12 billion in 2017. The result is that investigations into nonfilers and audits of wealthy filers have dropped significantly, costing the government billions in revenue, according to IRS Inspector General reports.