Blaine’s Bulletin: Preparing for Tax Day
Washington, March 17, 2022
Now that we are halfway through March, tax season is in full swing. At a time when inflation is at a 40-year high and gas prices are breaking records every week, families in Missouri and across America are hopeful of a timely tax return. Tax season has never been fun. It was frustrating for many families pre-pandemic, but now with the IRS delays and economic issues our country is facing there’s an added level of stress. I can’t advocate enough for getting your taxes in early and filing electronically if you’re able. The IRS is still working through their pandemic backlog and paper filings will take them longer to process.
As an agency, the IRS has a long history of efficiency and staffing problems. Currently, the IRS is actually operating at almost the same staff level as it was in the 1970’s despite the fact that our population has grown significantly, and our tax code has become much more complex. The IRS’s approximately 75,000 employees are expected to process the tax returns of a country with more than 329 million people. That math obviously does not work in the American taxpayer’s favor. Add to that the fact that the majority of their workforce worked from home for nearly two years, and we have to expect there are more delays to come. I’m sure this mismanagement of IRS leadership is just as frustrating for the IRS staff – many hardworking Missourians work at the IRS – as it is for the American people. They want to do a good job for their neighbors and fellow citizens but are hamstrung by bureaucracy in D.C.
Despite the IRS’s shortcomings, taxes will still need to be filed and there are a few other things to keep in mind this year. Many taxpayers who have families will be receiving smaller refunds than usual because of the advanced payments of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) put in place by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan that was signed into law last March. Half of the money a family qualifies for should have been paid in monthly payments starting last July, and the other half should be claimed on your 2021 taxes. So, if you have been receiving the monthly payments, please understand that those payments were an advance of a portion of your tax return, not an added benefit.
While it should only be a very small percentage, it is unfortunately possible that some families could have been overpaid for their CTC and will need to backpay some of this money. To check on the status of your family’s CTC, please visit https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-update-portal.
For anyone still waiting for tax returns for 2019 and 2020, the IRS is instructing you to file those on your 2021 taxes. That is the best (and likely only) way to receive the money the IRS owes you. For anyone who is still waiting on an Economic Impact Payment, you will likely have to file a 2021 “Recovery Rebate Credit” to receive the full amount. Information on the Recovery Rebate Credit can be found here https://www.irs.gov/pub/newsroom/fs-2022-12.pdf.
I wish I could report that this year’s tax season would be the easiest in history, but this is the reality of the situation. Last year, more than 30 million taxpayers experienced delayed returns. While the backlog is reportedly smaller this year than last, I advise all Missouri families to manage expectations for returns again this year. And the earlier you can file, the faster you’ll see a return. Please also note the deadline for filing this year is Monday, April 18th rather than the usual April 15th in observance of Good Friday.
You can check the status of your refund at irs.gov/refunds either 24 hours after filing electronically or 4 weeks after mailing a return. For more information about this tax filing season which might be more confusing than usual, you can visit irs.gov/refunds/tax-season-refund-frequently-asked-questions. And as always, my office is here to serve as resource for dealing with the IRS.