IRS Tax Return Processing Delay Talking Points for Community Partners Working with Families

  • It can really pay off to file a tax return to claim your expanded Child Tax Credit for 2021, even though you may have to wait to get your refund.
  • The IRS is facing challenges related to the pandemic, insufficient staffing, outdated technology, and changing tax laws that are resulting in long tax refund delays, especially for people who filed paper returns.
  • It’s incredibly frustrating to have to wait so long for your refund. While the wait time is unacceptable,  you will get any money you are owed.
  • The delays are largely due to systemic challenges, not necessarily problems with your individual tax return.
  • It is best to e-file your tax return if you can. If you have not yet filed your 2021 tax return, you can file a simplified return at through mid-November, or a full return through (you have three years to claim money owed from the IRS, including the 2021 Child Tax Credit). These services are free.
  • There are currently efforts underway in Congress to address the challenges in tax return processing and decrease the time people must wait for their refunds. Many organizations are advocating for these changes.
  • The Center for Taxpayer Rights has tips to keep in mind if you are navigating an issue with the IRS:
    • Retain copies of anything you send to the IRS
    • Keep all communications you receive from the IRS
    • If you call the IRS and prefer to communicate in a language other than English, you can ask to speak with a Spanish-speaking employee or for interpretation into other languages
    • When speaking with IRS employees, take notes and write down their name and badge numbers

Have questions? Have you found other messages that have been helpful when addressing questions about IRS tax return processing delays? Please let us know! [email protected]