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IRS Completing 1040 Backlog

Letters pileThe Internal Revenue Service will complete work on the backlog of 1040 paper returns from 2021 this week, according to the agency. Business returns from last year will be completed “shortly after”, it said.

The returns piled up last year because most of the IRS staff was not in government offices to process the paper during the pandemic.

As of June 10, more than 4.5 million of 4.7 million 1040 returns received in 2021 had been processed. The vast majority of tax returns received this year have been processed, the IRS said.

The IRS said efforts to handle unprocessed inventory of returns and correspondence by the end of this year include "aggressive, unprecedented steps to accelerate this important processing work while maintaining accuracy.” Those efforts included newly created  special teams of employees focused on the backlog with plans to hire thousands of new employees and contractors as part of the effort.

Additionally, it said a process was established to speed error resolutions. During the 2021 filing season, the IRS reported a tax examiner could correct an average of 70 returns with errors per hour. Technology implemented for the 2022 filing season has sped this up to 180 to 240 returns per hour.

There were 8.9 million tax returns in error resolution as of June 12 2021. As June 10, 360,000 returns were awaiting correction.


Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
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