Optima Tax Relief Reviews National Taxpayer Advocate Midyear Report 


The National Taxpayer Advocate released their midyear report to Congress. Optima Tax Relief reviews the main points of the report. 

Unprocessed Paper Returns 

A major concern expressed in the midyear report was the backlog of unprocessed paper tax returns. The 21+ million returns that have not been processed mean millions of taxpayers awaiting a tax refund. In recent months, the IRS has only been able to process about 205,000 paper returns each week. In order to clear the backlog, the IRS would need to process over 500,000 paper returns per week. This backlog has affected many taxpayers, from individuals to businesses. There are even some who were not required to file based on their income, but still filed to claim certain tax credits. For many, the delay was unexpected and created financial burdens, especially if they rely on tax refunds to cover expenses each year.  

Correspondence Processing Delays 

Another concern expressed in the TA’s report is the severe delay in processing correspondence between the IRS and taxpayers. As of late, the IRS takes more than three times as long to process taxpayer responses to IRS notices. Even worse, the long processing times results in delays in receiving tax refunds. Most taxpayers who receive an IRS notice have to wait over a year to resolve their issue with the IRS and receive their tax refund. This is also the case for the 336,000 taxpayers who were victims of identity theft last year.  

Telephone Delays 

Even though the IRS has urged taxpayers to take advantage of using online resources to answer basic tax-related questions, they are still receiving a high volume of phone calls. During the 2022 tax filing season, only one in ten calls were answered by an IRS agent, and the average wait time was nearly 30 minutes.  

Objectives For the Next Fiscal Year 

To wrap up the report, the National Taxpayer Advocate listed 14 objectives for the upcoming year. Some of these include: 

  • Automating the processing of paper returns using new scanners, so IRS employees do not have to key in each digit on the return 
  • Reducing barriers to e-filing tax returns to lessen the amount of paper returns that need to be processed 
  • Improving IRS hiring and training 
  • Improving telephone service  



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