IRS Makes Progress Following Chaotic Start to Tax Season

IRS Makes Progress Following Chaotic Start to Tax Season

IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig expects the agency to fully clear its backlog “absolutely before December.”


Back at the beginning of tax season in late January, reports indicated that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) still had millions of unprocessed returns and correspondence from previous years. With such a massive backlog to deal with, there wasn’t much confidence that the IRS would have a smooth tax season.

However, much to the surprise of some experts, it hasn’t been an all-out disaster, as the agency has already issued more than forty-five million tax refunds worth nearly $152 billion. And the all-important average refund payment? So far, it comes in at an impressive $3,352, which is $537 higher than last year’s amount of $2,815.


But with the tax season deadline still roughly a month away, that average amount could still potentially change considerably.

Addressing the Backlog

As for the millions of unprocessed returns and correspondence, it appears that the IRS is taking meaningful steps to address the backlog. Late last week, IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig told the House Ways and Means Committee that he expects the agency to fully clear its backlog “absolutely before December.”

“As of today, barring any unforeseen circumstances, if the world stays as it is today, we will be what we call ‘healthy’ by the end of calendar year 2022, and enter the 2023 filing season with normal inventories,” he added.

Rettig’s comments come on the heels of the IRS committing to hire 5,000 workers in the coming months and fill another 5,000 positions next year. Job fairs will be held on March 23 and 30 at the agency’s processing centers in Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Missouri, and Ogden, Utah.

"It’s an exciting time to work for the Internal Revenue Service,” IRS Taxpayer Experience Officer and Wage and Investment Commissioner Ken Corbin said in a statement.  

“The IRS has opportunities for almost every profession, starting with these entry level positions. Starting here today can guide you to your future career, like it has done for me starting in high school,” he continued.

Surge Teams to the Rescue

On top of the new hires, the agency will deploy a second “surge team” by reassigning 700 employees at its processing centers in Utah, Missouri, and Texas to help clear inventory.

“IRS employees have been working tirelessly to process backlogged returns and taxpayer correspondence,” Rettig said in a recent statement. “To ensure inventory is back to a healthy level for next filing season, we are leaving no stone unturned—taking an all hands on deck approach to ensure as many employees as possible are dedicating time to return processing.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.