In anticipation of a tax returns backlog and taxpayer questions amid the Covid-19 pandemic, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is advocating for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) emergency funding in upcoming spending packages.
Feinstein forwarded correspondence to President Joe Biden regarding the initiative while also encouraging Senate Appropriations Committee action.
“Your ‘Build Back Better’ proposal included an $80 billion increase to the IRS’s budget over 10 years, which would go a long way in restoring the agency’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities,” Feinstein wrote. “Given the delay in passing that legislation and the immediate needs at the IRS for the tax season just underway, I suggest that requesting immediate emergency supplemental funding would be a timelier way to help the IRS rebuild its capacity to efficiently process taxpayers’ returns, refunds, and questions.”
The National Taxpayer Advocate reported that the IRS had a backlog of over 35 million tax returns at the end of the last tax filing season, with 7 percent of callers requesting agency help to reach someone to lend assistance.
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress has asked the IRS to do much more than it usually does, including distributing stimulus payments, administering an expanded child tax credit, and implementing several other new tax credits,” Feinstein concluded. “The pandemic also forced the IRS to close in-person processing centers and require its employees to work from home. Compounding these issues, the IRS’s budget has declined by 19 percent since 2010, reducing customer service and audit rates and simply not allowing the IRS to keep pace with what we ask of it. This must change.”