IRS destroys 30 million paper returns

Aric Schreiner

Why am I not surprised to discover that the IRS destroyed 30 million unprocessed 2020 tax returns without authority? This was first brought to my attention on May 13 via an online article by Paul Bonner under the AICPA’s Journal of Accountancy. Here is the topic sentence of that article. “The IRS said Thursday that it destroyed approximately 30 million unprocessed information returns because its “antiquated technology” forced it to dispose of the paper documents and vowed to process all such information returns that it received in 2021 and 2022.”

“The IRS statement was in response to an audit report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) that described the document destruction.” Let me connect the dots for you. Earlier in the year, the IRS Commissioner, Charles Rettig, promised that the IRS would catch up on the huge backlog that resulted from the IRS being closed down for three months in 2020 due to COVID-19. Since then, the backlog has only gotten worse. In my office, about 10% of the tax returns filed in paper format via Priority Mail still have not received their refunds, a year later!

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