IRS On Track to Eliminate 2021 Tax Return Backlog

The IRS announced that it expects to complete work this week on individual tax returns filed in 2021, essentially clearing that part of the agency's backlogged work. The agency began 2022 with a larger than usual inventory of paper tax returns and correspondence due to pandemic and staffing issues.

“Employees working on the backlogs have been doing so at IRS facilities around the country throughout the pandemic, including overtime,” said National President Tony Reardon. “They know full well that every document in that backlog represents a hardworking American or small business owner who deserves a response as soon as possible, which is why they are working hard to get it done.”


As of June 10, the IRS had processed more than 4.5 million of the more than 4.7 million individual paper tax returns received in 2021. The IRS has also successfully processed the vast majority of tax returns filed this year: More than 143 million returns have been processed, with almost 98 million refunds worth more than $298 billion issued.

NTEU is proud to represent IRS employees who have proven their commitment to the mission, but are also in desperate need of more staffing, more resources and updated technology, all of which are necessary to prevent future backlogs.


For years, NTEU has been advocating for adequate funding and staffing for the IRS, which has seen decade of funding cuts. The union is supporting a House bill that would give the IRS more than $1 billion in funding over the current fiscal year for 2023.