New Tax Season, Same Tax Backlog: What You Need to Know

Another tax filing season is upon us! The Internal Revenue Service began accepting and processing 2021 returns on Monday, January 24, 2022.

The good news is that January 24th is 17 days earlier than last season’s start date of February 12, 2021. However, the bad news is that the IRS is still dealing with a backlog of millions of unprocessed returns and taxpayer correspondence from prior years.

These extensive backlogs aren’t just an inconvenience; they have also resulted in delays in the processing of:

  • Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative
  • Form 8821, Tax Information Authorization

These forms are required for taxpayers to authorize an individual to represent them before the IRS or to inspect and/or receive their confidential tax information.

New Tools For Submitting Authorization Forms During Tax Season
In the past, the authorization forms were submitted via fax or mail. During 2021, the IRS introduced two new tools for submitting authorizations:

1) An online portal for submitting an authorization that both the taxpayer and tax professional have signed

2) IRS Tax Pro Account that allows tax professionals to submit an authorization request to an individual taxpayer’s IRS online account for the taxpayer to sign electronically.

It’s important to note that there have been some challenges in getting the new online tools working efficiently. However, the IRS is hopeful that resources like the Tax Pro Account and online account will eventually reduce demand and decrease backlogs of forms awaiting manual processing.

Processing New Authorization Forms May Fluctuate For Taxpayers
The time to process authorization forms has fluctuated anywhere between three weeks to ten weeks over the past year and is currently somewhere around four weeks. The IRS continues to inform taxpayer representatives that they should expect long processing times — but they do not provide a processing time frame. The forms may still be submitted via fax or email or through one of the new online applications, and the IRS will process the documents in the order that they are received.

Please reach out if you have any questions.