The IRS announced that is completing the processing on a key group of individual tax returns filed during 2021. Business paper returns filed in 2021 will follow shortly after. The Service began 2022 with a larger than usual inventory of paper tax returns and correspondence filed during 2021 due to the pandemic. The IRS will continue to work on the few remaining 2021 individual tax returns that have processing issues or require additional information from the taxpayer. As of June 10, the IRS had processed over 4.5 million individual paper tax returns received in 2021.

To date, more than twice as many returns await processing compared to a typical year at this point in the calendar year. A greater percentage of this year’s inventory awaiting processing is comprised of original returns that, generally, take less time to process than amended returns. To address the unprocessed inventory by the end of this year, the IRS has taken aggressive steps including significant, ongoing overtime for staff throughout 2022, creating special teams of employees focused solely on processing aged inventory and expediting hiring of thousands of new workers and contractors. Additionally, the IRS has improved the process for taxpayers whose paper and electronically filed returns were suspended during processing for manual review and correction.

The IRS reminded taxpayers who have not yet filed their 2021 tax returns this year, including those who requested an extension until October 17, to make sure they file their returns electronically with direct deposit to avoid delays. The IRS urged taxpayers to file as soon as they are ready and to not wait until the last minute before the October 17 extension deadline. Filing sooner avoids potential delays for taxpayers and assists the larger ongoing IRS efforts to complete processing tax returns this year.