Tax Returns Pile Up At IRS, Unseen Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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IRS building Washington D.C.
Many IRS employees are working from home, and some basic functions have slowed to a crawl.
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If you're calling the IRS assistance line about your tax return, don't get your hopes up that someone will answer.

And if you've filled out your tax return by hand and mailed it, don't expect anyone to look at it soon.

For this is the IRS, in the time of coronavirus.

While the government is working hard at getting emergency stimulus checks to Americans, Politico reports that many basic IRS functions are all but shut down amid the pandemic.

As a result, individual taxpayers and businesses expecting tax refunds may face significant delays. Tax returns are piling up in storage trailers as IRS employees work from home.

Former IRS commissioner Mark Everson says, “Clearly, most day-to-day operations at the IRS have stood down. That’s the blunt reality." 

But not entirely. By the first week of April, the IRS had paid $213 billion in refunds. That's down from $221 billion at the same time last year.

The tax filing deadline has been extended until July 15. The IRS recommends that people file electronically. In pinch, even a fax will do.