The Treasury Department has warned that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may face “enormous challenges” processing returns this year. The IRS usually enters tax season with one million outstanding returns from the year prior, according to the Washington Post. However, the IRS currently has 6 million outstanding individual returns and 2 million unprocessed amended returns from 2020. Numerous social programs and tax credits provided to millions of Americans during the pandemic only exacerbated the problem.
Adding to the problem is the labor shortage and budget cuts as the agency has lost 25% of its workforce. “By definition, no matter how much more efficient you are, you can’t lose 25 percent of the workforce and assume you can do the same volume of work. It’s a problem across the board — information technology; revenue agents; people answering the phones,” said John Koskinen, former commissioner of the IRS under presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Worsening matters, as government agencies tend to do, the IRS will begin requiring photo identification to process taxes beginning in the summer of 2022. You don’t need an ID to vote, but you certainly need one for the government to track the money it believes you owe. The IRS website previously only required users to make a simple name and password. Beginning in the summer, users will need to upload a government ID and take a video selfie. “Tax payments can be made from a bank account, by credit card or by other means without the use of facial recognition technology or registering for an account,” the IRS stated. However, people will be unable to use certain features without uploading a video selfie. How are the elderly going to use this feature? Will those living in poverty face consequences for not having a smartphone or computer? This seems like another great way for the government to compile our personal data and develop better facial recognition software.
Despite the drastic backlog, there will be no extension for taxpayers; the government wants their money by April 18. As I have always said in the past, receiving a refund is not a gift from the government. The government preys on the poorest people in society by holding onto their funds for a year and preventing them from investing. They expect the people to provide them with an interest-free loan every year, and in exchange, they will dissect each tax return for errors and ask for more money.