HARTFORD—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday held a press conference in Hartford urging Connecticut residents to file their taxes as soon as possible, amid an unprecedented U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) backlog. Given the agency’s chronic underfunding and challenges brought by COVID-19, Murphy and Blumenthal this week called on the IRS to provide penalty relief for frustrated taxpayers who have been unable to receive help. The senators also urged the U.S. Department of the Treasury to increase funding for the IRS, which would improve taxpayer services and modernize IT systems to file taxes and claim refunds. Taxpayers can begin filing their 2021 taxes as early as this week.
“This is going to be challenging tax year, in part because the IRS is understaffed and using decades old technology that’s not keeping up with the pace of returns. We are going to continue pressing our colleagues to allocate additional resources to the IRS so that they can process these returns quickly, update their technology, and go after the big tax cheats. And we’re hoping that the IRS is going to take some steps in the short run to be able to process these claims faster,” said Murphy. “We’re pushing the IRS to be better this tax season to be able to get those returns turned around quickly.”
“Taxpayers deserve a responsive IRS that will promptly process their refunds while making cracking down on tax cheats. IRS needs more resources to make up for years of reduced funding and staff at a time when the number of tax filers has increased,” said Blumenthal.
In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Murphy and Blumenthal on Thursday expressed concern that persistent underfunding of the IRS will have negative effects on American taxpayers and called for a minimum 14% increase in annual IRS funding, and an $80 billion investment over 10 years.
This week, Murphy and Blumenthal called on the IRS to provide penalty relief for taxpayers amid extensive, ongoing processing backlogs at the IRS. As of late December 2021, the IRS continued to have a backlog of 6 million individual income tax returns and 2.3 million amended individual tax returns.
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