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Look for this info from the IRS to prevent a mistake that could severely delay processing your tax return

Look out for a notice about special payments you may have received. Mistakes last year backed up millions of returns that are STILL being sorted out.

It’s almost time again. On Jan. 24, the IRS begins accepting tax returns. That may be especially dreadful for some of you who are STILL WAITING for the return you filed in 2021 to be processed, and to get your refund! 

IRS still working on last year's returns as it starts to accept this year's

The IRS reports that as of December 2021, it still had a backlog of 6 million individual returns from last year that hadn’t been processed yet, as well as 2.3 million amended returns, and 5 million pieces of taxpayer correspondence that they haven’t gotten to. 

Perhaps, so many of us have been writing to the IRS, because we couldn’t get through on the phones. Last year, they received a record 281.7 million phone calls, but only answered 32 million of them. 

Advice to keep your return from getting trapped at the IRS this year

So, first piece of advice going into this tax filing season: Get it done early. 

By law, your W-2’s should be sent out by the last day of this month.

Second piece of advice: File electronically. 

Paper returns stacked up last year and calls went unanswered because many IRS workers were out of the office due to the pandemic, which, of course, is still with us. 

The third and biggest piece of advice: Even if you are always careful on your returns, maybe check them like never before… before you hit send this time. 

Last year, the IRS reported that it caught more than 11 million math errors on forms. 

In a year already beset by delays, those returns may have been held up for a lot of extra time as remote workers with the agency tried to reconcile returns with error-making taxpayers. 

In the latest report from the National Taxpayer Advocate, the most common discrepancy that held up returns involved COVID relief ‘stimulus payments’, and how taxpayers accounted for that on their tax forms. A lot of people got those payments again last year, so they will a part of many Americans’ taxes again this year.

Additionally, if you received early childhood tax credit payments in 2021, you will have to correctly account for that on this year’s returns. Those two items will prompt a bevy of taxpayer errors that could potentially delay the processing of returns again this year, predicts the IRS Advocate.

Look for this from the IRS

Critical note: Due to potential math errors arising from COVID relief stimulus payments and early childhood tax credit payments, the IRS is sending notices to you if you got those special payments showing how much you received. 

You can also check some of that information online. 

You may want to make sure you receive that correspondence and double check it against your return before you file your taxes.

If all goes well and your numbers check out, the IRS predicts refunds within 21 days of electronically filing. 

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