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IRS says it is sitting on nearly 20 million unprocessed tax returns

Refunds are delayed due to significant backlog.

Updated: May 7, 2021 - 4:47pm

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The Internal Revenue Service on Friday revealed that it is currently dealing with a backlog of nearly 20 million unprocessed tax returns, a bottleneck which is delaying tax refunds and other administrative undertakings. 

On its ongoing COVID-19 update page, the IRS said on Friday that "as of April 30, 2021, [it] had 17.1 million unprocessed individual returns in the pipeline."

"Unprocessed returns include those requiring correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount or validation of 2019 income used to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC)," the agency said. 

"This work does not require us to correspond with taxpayers but does require special handling by an IRS employee so, in these instances, it is taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund," it added.

The agency is still "processing returns received over the summer and fall in 2020 due to the extended July 15, 2020 tax filing due date," it said.