IRS ignores those filing paper tax returns
I have been filing my federal tax returns on paper for more than 50 years. It was never any trouble at all. After all, I had been an enrolled agent for several years.
But that all changed after I filed my 2019 return.
I filed it in April 2020. The IRS still has not processed it. When I go to the IRS website and use the “Where’s my refund?” option, the IRS doesn’t even indicate that my return has been received.
After several months of not receiving an acknowledgment from the IRS that it has my return, I wrote to my congressional representative complaining about the delay. The representative asked me for permission to contact the IRS on my behalf, and I consented.
As a result of that intervention, I received a phone response from an IRS representative in December, who told me to file my return electronically. The IRS representative also told me that an IRS advocate was assigned to me, and that I could expect a response from her. I was provided her phone number.
I then contacted TurboTax to file electronically. However, representatives at TurboTax told me that after October, the IRS no longer accepted e-files for 2019, and that they could only file a paper return. They suggested that I file a paper return again by registered mail.
I followed their advice and filed a copy of my previous paper return again. This was against the IRS recommendation. The IRS says on its website not to contact them and not to refile. However, the IRS still has not indicated that it has received any paper return from me for 2019.
The trouble continues
I contacted TurboTax in March 2021 to file my 2020 tax return electronically. They prepared my return and tried to file electronically.
When you file electronically, the IRS asks for your adjusted gross income (AGI) for the previous year as a security measure. I entered the AGI from my 2019 return but, as I feared, the IRS rejected my e-filing because it has no record of that return!
After the rejection, TurboTax representatives then told me to enter zero for my 2019 AGI. I did that, and again the IRS has rejected my e-filing. (H&R Block informed me that its software also requires a valid AGI from 2019.)
TurboTax has now told me I must file by paper again in 2020 because the IRS won’t accept my request to file electronically. Naturally, I don’t want to file a paper return again.
I have gone to the internet to see if my situation is common. I have found that others are faced with the same problem. It’s a Catch-22.
Millions of individuals have also filed paper tax returns for 2019 that have not been processed. Yet the IRS won’t allow e-filing because there is no AGI that matches their records.
Even though the IRS has assigned me a tax advocate who supposedly should be assisting me, she has not contacted me, and she doesn’t return my phone calls.
If millions of taxpayers like me are forced to file a paper return for our 2020 taxes, how long will the delay be? The IRS has already extended the April 15 filing date to May 17 because of its inability to process returns in a timely manner.
The IRS has no legitimate reason not to allow individuals whose 2019 returns have not been processed to file their 2020 returns electronically. I suggest you write to the IRS commissioner Charles Rettig, as I have done, at 77 K St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, and demand that he inform his staff of this problem, and that they take whatever steps are necessary to accept e-filed returns from taxpayers who have no apparent record of AGI for 2019.
This situation is ridiculous. We are simply trying to comply with the law and file our taxes, and we should not be punished because the IRS hasn’t processed 2019 paper returns yet.
I suggest you copy Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen with your correspondence to the IRS commissioner. You can reach her at the Treasury Department, 1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20220.
Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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