Neal, Pascrell Raise Alarms Over Slow Start to 2021 Filing Season

Feb 19, 2021
Press Release
In the first week, the IRS reported processing only a third of the returns they had processed by this time last year

WASHINGTON, DC—A week into the most important tax filing season in recent memory, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) sounded the alarm over the first set of data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that showed the shortened filing season was already off to a slow start. The troublesome data underscores the Committee’s concern about Americans receiving much-needed financial relief during the pandemic. 

“Today, which would normally be the third week of the filing season, the Committee on Ways and Means (Committee) received its first weekly report from the IRS on the status of the 2021 tax return filing season and the news is alarming,” the Chairs wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.  “One week into a shortened filing season, the IRS reported that it received about 20 million returns on February 12, the opening day of the 2021 return filing season, and processed only 14 million returns. This pace is significantly behind the nearly 40 million returns received and processed last year through February 14, 2020.”

The Chairs went on to emphasize that: “it is unclear why taxpayers have delayed filing this year, but the IRS reported today that visits to its website have more than doubled over last year at this time, from 165 million in 2020 to 369 million in 2021. The Committee also learned that call volume has tripled over the same period last year and only about 25 percent of taxpayers seeking assistance are getting through to the IRS.  Of that 25 percent—which represents 6 million calls—only 2.7 million taxpayers spoke with a customer service representative and 3.4 million calls were directed to an automated message.” 

The Chairs requested more information by February 26, 2021, on how IRS plans to get through their 2019 backlog as well as improve the processing of this year’s returns.

Read the full letter HERE.

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