Tax Season will continue to be a hassle, will it not?
When the Wall Street Journal reported on Jan. 3 that the next tax season is likely to cause headaches for filers, many taxpayers were probably already apprehensive.
For millions of taxpayers, the last two filing seasons, for 2019 and 2020, were a nightmare, especially for those who had filed paper forms and were due for a refund.
The tax-filing seasons covering those two years were complicated for many taxpayers by taxpayers who not only filed paper returns but also chose to receive their refunds via paper checks delivered by the United States Postal Service, which has been plagued by its efficiency and pandemic-related issues.
There are about 6 million 2020 tax returns from 2021 that the IRS has yet to process, as well as 2.3 million modified tax returns that could take more than 20 weeks to process.
However, the IRS stated in December that it was “on schedule” in opening its mail, raising the question of how long mail was spent in the hands of the federal tax agency before it gets opened.
People who waited months in 2020, unsure whether the IRS had their 2019 returns in hand or had misplaced them, are not amused by projections that the forthcoming 2021 tax-filing season, which begins on Jan. 24, will not be any better.
And it’s legitimate for them to wonder why, amid the COVID-19 pandemic’s third tax-filing season, the IRS can’t be more positive about the future.
Taxpayers must meet the tax-filing deadline “or else,” but “or else” does not apply to the IRS, because politicians are mostly to blame for the agency’s slowness because they refuse to increase IRS spending authorization to a level that will considerably aid processing efficiency.
Add in the possibility of retroactive legislation and tax-law changes from the pandemic era that will necessitate extra attention from both taxpayers and the IRS, and the stage is set for yet another tragedy of any kind.
For example, advanced payments of the child tax credit received in 2021 must be included on tax returns filed in the months running up to the April 18 tax-filing deadline.
It’s time for all taxpayers to start thinking about how they’ll deal with their tax problems this year. From a tax-filing standpoint, the April deadline is considerably closer than it appears today.