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IRS Still Processing Some 2019 Tax Returns

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The IRS has extended this year’s tax season deadline for Texans because of the February winter storm. Texans have until June 15 to file their 2020 federal income tax returns.

However, some North Texans are still waiting for the IRS to process their 2019 returns.

Paper Return Delays

Mike Trull of Arlington said he mailed his 2019 federal income tax return to the IRS on the July 15 deadline – which was extended last year because of the pandemic.

He said he filed a paper return and mailed an $809 check for the federal income taxes he owed. The IRS cashed his check a few days later, but Trull said the IRS has not yet processed the return.

That became clear when Congress passed a second stimulus package late last year -- tying eligibility to 2019 tax information. When Trull logs onto the IRS “Get My Payment” tool, it tells Trull his status isn’t available.

“What it does say is we don't have enough information to process your stimulus or you're not eligible. But, I'm eligible based on criteria that I understand,” Trull said.

Now, there’s a third stimulus payment.

“Four thousand dollars, basically, is what we're waiting on right now,” Trull said.

How to Claim Missing Stimulus Payments

Trull said he knows he can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit for missing stimulus payments on his 2020 tax return, but said he’s concerned for others who may still be waiting for a refund. Taxpayers can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit by completing line 30 of the 2020 Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

“I could go ahead and do my 2020 tax return and it would figure itself out, but I'm wondering why they haven't gotten the 2019 problem solved yet,” Trull said.

The IRS Is Asking for Patience

“In terms of processing 2019 returns, they are a priority. We’re doing the best we can to get through that backlog and make sure there's a process and people get their refunds," IRS spokesperson Raphael Tulino said. "If payments are due, we can settle that and take care of those obligations."

Tulino said that between short staffing, remote work in a pandemic and processing three stimulus payments to millions of Americans, the IRS continues to chip away at 2019 paper returns.

If you’re waiting on the IRS to process a 2019 return, Tulino said not to file a second return.

“We're asking for some patience. We understand folks are a little frustrated. Considering what 2020 gave us and the resources we have, we're moving as best we can,” Tulino said.

The IRS recommends taxpayers file electronically.

In a report to Congress earlier this year, the IRS national taxpayer advocate pointed to reductions in the IRS budget in prior years that left the agency with old technology and not enough staffing.

According to the report, IRS employees only answered about 24 million of the more than 100 million calls to its toll-free telephone lines in the fiscal year 2020.

“I think this indicates a bigger issue,” Trull said. “That the IRS is woefully underfunded, they don’t have enough people, they have antiquated equipment.”

Taxpayers can request an in-person appointment by selecting a North Texas office from a list published here and calling the office to request an appointment.

There are also free filing and free tax assistance options for many North Texans.

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