Senator Highlights Concerns Raised by Granite Staters; Notes that Many Taxypayers Still Have Not Received Tax Refunds for 2019 or 2020
WASHINGTON – With tax filing season beginning this week, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan is urging the IRS to swiftly address its significant backlog of unprocessed tax refunds for Granite Staters and other Americans. In her letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, Senator Hassan notes that many taxpayers still have not received their tax refunds for 2019 or 2020.
“Many taxpayers have still not received their 2019 or 2020 tax refunds, in many cases requiring the taxpayer to completely refile their return,” Senator Hassan wrote. “According to recent reports, last month, your agency had 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual tax returns.”
Senator Hassan also highlighted concerns from Granite Staters regarding the agency’s customer service.
“I have heard from Granite Staters who have reached out to the IRS by phone and have been frustrated by hours-long wait times.... Only 7 percent of callers with questions about their returns were able to reach an actual person on the phone,” Senator Hassan wrote.
The Senator is calling on the IRS to specifically devote resources to reduce hold times so that Granite Staters and Americans can receive the assistance that they need in a timely fashion.
As chair of the Emerging Threats and Spending Oversight Subcommittee, Senator Hassan is working to improve customer service in the federal government and strengthen government efficiency. Senator Hassan previously led efforts to ensure that veterans receive their Department of Veterans Affairs benefits in a timely fashion after hearing from New Hampshire veterans who have experienced delays in receiving their benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senator is also working to improve the Postal Service, and joined in introducing bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Postal Service and improve the agency’s long-term financial stability. Furthermore, following a request from Senator Hassan, the Postal Service Inspector General issued a report that found that the main cause of postal delays and poor service in New Hampshire was due to a lack of permanent staff. After the report came out in December 2020, the Postal Service hired more than 150 new permanent employees in New Hampshire.
To read the Senator’s letter to the IRS, click here or see below.
Dear Commissioner Rettig:
I write to the urge the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to take action to improve taxpayer service and address the backlog of unprocessed tax returns as soon as possible.
The IRS recently announced that it will begin accepting 2021 tax returns on January 24, 2022. However, many taxpayers have still not received their 2019 or 2020 tax refunds, in many cases requiring the taxpayer to completely refile their return. According to recent reports, last month, your agency had 6 million unprocessed individual tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended individual tax returns.
I have heard from Granite Staters who have reached out to the IRS by phone and have been frustrated by hours-long wait times. Recent reports indicate that, in the first half of 2021, the IRS had fewer than 15,000 employees to handle more than 240 million calls, on average one person for every 16,000 calls. Only 7 percent of callers with questions about their returns were able to reach an actual person on the phone.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted staffing at the IRS, more must be done to improve service to taxpayers who call the IRS and to process the backlog of tax returns - especially with the 2021 tax filing season starting soon. Granite State families need to receive their tax refunds promptly so they can pay their bills. The IRS should specifically devote resources to reducing hold times for taxpayers who call the IRS in need of assistance.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue.