Congress should ensure that multi-year funding for technology modernization becomes available to help clear COVID-19 backlogs at the Internal Revenue Service, according to an association representing management officials from the agency.
In a note issued Friday, the Professional Managers Association (PMA) petitioned lawmakers to provide additional funds as Treasury plays catchup with millions of personal and small business tax forms from last year that have yet to be processed.
“In the long term, dedicated multi-year funding for technology modernization would allow the IRS to improve electronic systems and take significant burdens off paper processing,” PMA said in its note.
IRS has struggled during the pandemic because of the vast surge in requests to re-file tax returns following new economic impact payments and changes to tax legislation. “Amended employment tax returns were once a rare occurrence and now the IRS is drowning in them,” said PMA.
Among delays highlighted in recent weeks include the continuing backlog of submissions for Form 1040 — individual income tax returns — which stood at 6 million as of Dec. 23, and Form 941 — employer quarterly tax returns — which stood at 2 million on the same date.
In addition, PMA is also calling for extra employees to help clear the mailroom backlog at IRS.
“We understand the mailroom backlogs are an area of concern for Congress and taxpayers. In the short term, Congress can ease the burden by passing robust appropriations to allow for the hiring, onboarding, and training of new employees.”
The PMA’s action comes after senators sent a missive to the IRS urging the agency to improve taxpayer services during the 2022 filing season.
The bipartisan letter was signed by lawmakers including Ben Cardin, D-Md., a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
PMA in its letter also said lawmakers should avoid making further midseason changes to tax legislation, which it said would be “catastrophic” for the successful execution of the season.
“It is the job of Congress to pass legislation, which executive branch agencies such as the IRS will gladly execute. However, calling upon the IRS to unilaterally engage in this activity mid-filing season is catastrophic for the successful execution of the season,” the association added.
PMA is a national membership association that represents the interests of professional managers, management officials and non-bargaining unit employees in the federal government.