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A new year ushers in many changes for the Internal Revenue Service, but one massive problem will not go away – backlogs.

While the IRS still must deal with a backlog of mail and a backed-up phone system that leaves taxpayers and practitioners on hold and frequently drops the call, changes are in the works. Among them are a potential new commissioner (Danny Werfel was nominated for the role in November 2022) and an increased budget that will give the IRS billions of dollars to spend, although it has less than two months left to develop a spending plan.

The Internal Revenue Service announced in late April Health Savings Accounts (HSA) limit for 2023.

 $1.2 billion in penalties will be refunded to 1.6 million taxpayers

In late August, the Internal Revenue Service announced on its website that it had issued Notice 2022-36, which will provide penalty relief to most taxpayers who filed certain 2019 or 2020 tax returns late.

In late May, the Internal Revenue Service enhanced the Where's My Refund? tool on their website.

This new feature allows taxpayers to check the status of their refunds for current tax year and two previous years.

In order to check their refund status, taxpayers will need to provide their Social Security number or ITIN, filing status and expected refund amount from the original filed tax return for the tax year they are checking.

Previously, Where's My Refund? only displayed the status of the most recently filed tax return within the past two tax years. Information available to those calling the refund hotline will be limited to the 2021 tax return.

Using the Where's My Refund? Tool, taxpayers can check the status of their refund within:
• 24 hours after e-filing a tax year 2021 return
• Three or four days after e-filing a tax year 2019 or 2020 return
• Four weeks after mailing a return

The IRS reminds taxpayers that the Online Account continues to be the best option for finding their prior year adjusted gross income, balance due or other type of account information.

“We encourage those who expect a refund, but requested an extension, to file as soon as they're ready,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We process returns on a first-in basis, so the sooner the better. There's really no reason to wait until October 17 if filers have the relevant information to file now. Free File is still available for extension recipients to use to prepare and file their federal tax return for free.”

Electronic filing is available anytime and the IRS continues to receive returns and issue refunds. Once taxpayers have filed, they can track their refund with the Where's My Refund? tool.

This helpful tool, accessible on irs.gov or the IRS2Go mobile app, allows taxpayers to track their refund through three stages – received, approved and sent.

The tool is updated daily and gives taxpayers a projected refund issuance date as soon as it is approved.

The IRS does not recommend taxpayers call them to check on their refund status unless it has been more than 21 days since the return was filed or the tool says the IRS can provide more information.

If the IRS needs more information to process the return, the taxpayer will be contacted by mail.

For more information about checking the status of a tax refund, please visit irs.gov/refunds.

The IRS announced on its website that it has suspended the mailing of automated collection notices, including balance due notices and unfiled tax return notices normally issued when a taxpayer owes additional tax, and the IRS has no record of a taxpayer filing a tax return.

CPAs and taxpayers urged to contact elected officials and push for passage of H.R. 5155

Based on multiple media reports, the U.S. Treasury and IRS are preparing for the worst this filing season.

According to a Jan. 10 Washington Post article, the Treasury warned of enormous challenges this tax filing season that will likely delay refunds.

Treasury Department officials told reporters they predict a “frustrating season” for taxpayers and tax preparers due to delays caused by the pandemic, years of budget cuts to the IRS, and federal stimulus measures that have added to the tax agency’s workload.

A page on the IRS website reminds taxpayers to take the steps now to make the tax filling process easier in 2022.

Often taxpayers will provide their tax preparer with most of their pertinent information needed to file tax returns. However, they sometimes forget to pass along notices from a tax authority, which could impact returns.

For instance, when the Ohio Department of Taxation identifies a perceived calculation error in an individual tax return, they issue a variance notice to the taxpayer. This notice compares the figures on the return as filed to the department's recalculated figures and allows for the taxpayer to disagree with some or all of the adjustments by providing additional documentation.

As we approach the end of 2021, it is important to take a closer look at your tax and financial plans. This year likely brought challenges and disruptions that significantly impacted your personal and financial situation including the continued global pandemic, remote and new hybrid work models, supply chain disruptions and rising inflation.

Now is the time to take a closer look at your current tax strategies to make sure they are still meaningful in today’s world and to take any last-minute steps that could save you tax dollars. While looming tax law changes have not been finalized, many tax planning opportunities still exist! Here are some issues to consider as we approach year-end.

As the end of the year approaches, now is a great time for businesses to get a jump start on year-end payroll processing.

Even if you use an outsourced payroll provider, there are some things that you can do to make the year-end processing more efficient.