IRS = Cowpie!


Yes.  That is a cowpie.  A fresh one even.  It reminds me of the Internal Revenue Service, which is why I am polluting your computer screen with it.  The IRS is a really stinky mess right now.


I grew up on a Farm/Ranch in Southeast Idaho.  We had about 100 head of cattle.  So, this means there were cowpies EVERYWHERE.  And as a young boy, along with my brother, we quickly learned that if you got a stick and stuck it into the cowpie and even stirred it a bit, the cowpie became stinkier!


Yes, the IRS.  The more folks call, write, complain, send in tax returns, demand answers, the stinkier the IRS gets!  Just like a giant COWPIE!


The Coronavirus hit over a year ago.  The IRS, as a result, SHUT DOWN for FOUR MONTHS!!  The shut down (actually they called it an evacuation) was sudden and without warning.  In some offices, employees were told to shut down their computers and phones and leave immediately.  In others, the building was unexpectedly locked when they showed up for work.


Some of the employees were asked to work remotely from their homes but were not allowed to access taxpayer data because it would be a security breach of confidential information.  How does one answer questions about a tax account that you cannot even look up??


For those four months, the IRS stopped opening mail (even if it had money in it), turned off their fax machines, and quit answering their phones.




The good news is, it is hard for IRS Revenue Agents to pursue collecting taxes when they are confined to and even frightened to leave their own basement!


The result of all this is the MOTHER OF ALL BACKLOGS.


In a recent report to the House Ways and Means Committee and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (now THOSE are HUGE titles) the IRS stated:


-        They have a more than 24 million backlog of tax returns that have not been processed.

-        12.3 million of those tax returns date back over the past two years.  Most of those are business tax returns.

-        2.4 million are individual returns for 2019.  Still waiting for last year’s tax refund??  You are not alone!

-        12.4 million returns are 2020 tax returns and are stuck in a “pending review” status.

-        That includes over 7 million that are designated as “error reviews”.  In a “normal” year, those take up to five months to review and process.  No doubt with this backlog, they will take much longer than that now.

-        Only 25% of telephone calls to the IRS are answered.  It is typical to wait on hold for over an hour just to be disconnected.


NOTE:  If you are trying to get the above numbers to add up to anything close to the total of 24 million they started with, please know that none of us here could get it to add up either.  The IRS just says “we aren’t sure our numbers are correct because they have not been audited.”  No kidding.  And are we surprised by that??


Further, the ginormous IRS computer continues to automatically send out all manner of threatening delinquency notices even for those cases and bills that have been resolved and  paid.  (The payment is likely in an envelope that has not yet been opened and will not be for some time.)


The only guidance we, as tax preparers and CPAs, have received, is “please don’t resend stuff to us and please quit calling.”  Alright then!


To add to the confusion, Congress recently decided to make all sorts of tax law changes in the middle of tax season!  (This is unheard of!)  Another stimulus check.  (#3).  A new law to exclude some Unemployment Compensation, even on tax returns that have already been filed.  Expanding and paid monthly child tax credit.  And this after they postponed the filing season to February 12th, the latest the IRS has ever opened for business.


The result?  The filing deadline has been moved to May 17th.  Think it will help?  Hmmmm…..   Probably just like a stick in that cowpie.


No worries, your tax return is in the pile.  And they’ll get to it some day.

stacks of papers.jpg




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