Millions of U.S citizens will start filing their taxes, brooding over 2021’s W-2s, 1099s, and donations.
But Rachel Cannistraro is still tied in 2020.
That is because the 40-year-old Wisconsin-based accountant has not gotten her revised return from earlier this year. She filed it on March 28, 2021, which hasn’t been yet processed by the Internal Revenue System.
For Cannistraro who is a mother of three, that also signifies she didn’t receive the payment under enhanced child-tax-credit that began sending out monthly to households from summer last year.
Whilst she will still receive the money she is entitled to as soon as she files her tax return this year, “having the additional $300 a month in advance would’ve been helpful to us.”
Her youngest son is extremely disabled and goes through much physical therapy, not everything among which is covered under Medicaid. She has had to utilize credit cards and depend on her savings so that she can cope with those expenses.
All told, with the enhanced child tax credit and the refund jointly, Cannistraro stated she is waiting for nearly $6,000.
Cannistraro stated she and her husband are lucky enough to have good jobs. She said, “I know that there are many other families that go through something very similar to this, that this is a big deal — not having a thousand dollars to them could mean not having food.”
Cannistraro Isn’t Alone in Going Through the Issue of Processing
Cannistraro isn’t the only one, Erin Collins, the national taxpayer advocate, a designation that’s identified as the “voice of the taxpayer” within the IRS, stated that the agency is “in crisis.”
According to Collins’ annual report, as of mid-December, the IRS had 6.2 million returns that were yet to process. Both Collins and Treasury officials outlined historical underfunding of the agency as the persistent problem leading to backlogs. According to the Tax Policy Center, in the last ten years, the IRS’s budget has fallen by more than 20%.
Cannistraro said “The government has stripped the IRS of so much funding over the years,” adding “Folks are out there waiting for the money that is due to them, and on top of the fact that they’re not getting the money that’s due to them, they’re also not going to be compensated for the fact that they had to wait so long.”
‘The Worst Thing About This Is That There’s No Communication From the IRS’
Cannistraro has always done the family’s taxes and never faced any problems. But, as she mentioned, “2020 was kind of a crazy year.” In 2021, some additional details, standard mortgage, and charitable deductions emerged following she filed earlier. So, for the first time, she had to file a revised return.
She stated that the IRS’s website claimed it would take a minimum of sixteen weeks for a revised return to turn up. Hence, she marked that nearest date, around mid-July in her calendar. When it still didn’t show up, she dialed a number on the IRS website for assistance.
She said “It would ring and ring and then it would say, Oh, we have high call volume. You’re just gonna have to call back later, and it would hang up.”
She attempted to contact the agency over social media. And ultimately, in October, Cannistraro got in touch with her senator and congressman.
Processing Issue Stemmed as She Didn’t Get the Latest Stimulus Check to Mention in Return
She talked to Congressman Mark Pocan’s office, who stated many others had also contact for similar problems.
In mid-December, they were ultimately able to bring her some answers: The processing issue arose from the fact that Cannistraro hadn’t gotten the latest stimulus check to mention as part of her previous return. That check arrived a week following she filed, she added.
She said, “Somewhere between me filing the amended return and them investigating the fact that I had received stimulus or not caused some sort of processing issue, and that caused them to not process my amended return.”
She provided her congressman’s office with the requisite document so they could hand it over to the IRS for processing. Cannistraro stated she’s “heard nothing else since” from the IRS, adding “The worst thing about this is that there’s no communication from the IRS. We’re not getting letters, no phone calls. If you try to call them, no one’s answering the phone.”
She said ‘I shouldn’t have to get my congressman involved in my taxes’
Cannistraro said, over the nation, workers are leaving their jobs to look for better opportunities.
With the budget reduction that the IRS has gone through, “you’re not gonna get quality employees if you’re not gonna have the budget to pay them,” she added.
Meanwhile, Cannistraro is still waiting on her return, just like millions of others.
She said, “Folks are out there waiting for the money that is due to them — and, on top of the fact that they’re not getting the money that’s due to them, they’re also not going to be compensated for the fact that they had to wait so long.”
When anyone is late in making a tax payment to the IRS, they impose penalties and fees. But being a taxpayer owed money, Cannistraro stated she won’t receive any interest or fees for getting her payment held back over the delay in processing, something she believes should be rectified in the policy.
Cannistraro said “I should have gotten a letter from the IRS back in July that said, ‘Something’s amiss about this, call this number with this case and let’s talk about it,’ instead of me having to call my congressman,” adding further “I shouldn’t have to get my congressman involved in my taxes. They have bigger things to be dealing with.”