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It could take some time for the IRS to catch up

As businesses here in Massachusetts and around the country reopen, many feel the crunch as they attempt to catch up on matters that have been unattended to in recent months. And they are not the only ones. The IRS has been stockpiling paperwork and paper returns, and as more employees return to work, they have an arduous task ahead of them. Even as taxpayers must meet the July 15 deadline for filing their federal income tax returns, the agency is not saying how long it will take to get caught up.

Even though somewhere around 90% of taxpayers file their returns electronically, it does not mean that the entire process is automated. The IRS has made it clear that it will carefully review all returns, including any claiming the earned income credit, which could be a large number. In the meantime, anyone who sends in a paper filing will most likely have to wait as well.

Part of the problem is that the agency cannot necessarily be fully staffed at any one time. They may need to use staggering shifts in order to keep offices from being too crowded in light of recent events. People who expect refunds could end up waiting a long time.

In the meantime, Massachusetts taxpayers who have not yet filed their returns will need to submit their returns to the IRS on or before July 15. They can still work toward reducing their tax liability, especially in a time when every dollar counts for most people. Those with complex tax situations would probably benefit from working with a tax attorney who can help in that endeavor.

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