The IRS, like businesses and individuals, is not immune to the destruction that Covid has left and continues to leave in it's wake. Many of us have been frustrated with the IRS over the past 18 months as it seems impossible to get through on the phone lines, letters and notices are requesting a response by a date prior to when the letter or notice was received, and document processing is taking considerably longer than in the past, many times holding up a refund payment. These are just a few of the issues we've seen over this past tax season, and I wanted to provide additional information on exactly how bad the situation at the IRS is right now through an official report by the Taxpayer Advocate Service.
The Taxpayer Advocate is an independent organization within the IRS that assists taxpayers with resolving ongoing issues that they can’t resolve on their own, as well as reports to Congress on the status of the IRS and recommendations on how to improve and prevent future problems.
They report to Congress annually by June 30th (Federal Government’s FYE). Here is the 2021 report:
The preface shows as of the end of May 2021, the IRS:
The report also shows:
This is another excerpt from the above linked report from the Taxpayer Advocate discussing the difficulties for US taxpayers living overseas.
For U.S. citizens or resident aliens, the rules for filing income tax returns and paying estimated tax are generally the same whether they are in the United States or abroad; worldwide income is subject to U.S. income tax, regardless of where they reside. Approximately nine million U.S. citizens live abroad. There are also many international U.S. taxpayers who are neither residents nor citizens of the United States.
One particular challenge for taxpayers living abroad is the reduced services offered by the IRS to this community. Taxpayers living abroad generally cannot call U.S. toll-free telephone lines. In 2015, the IRS closed the last of its overseas tax attaché offices, which eliminated the last face-to-face option for U.S. taxpayers living abroad, leaving these taxpayers with limited options for assistance. The IRS has designated its Philadelphia office to provide international tax assistance Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST; international taxpayers may call 267-941-1000 (not a toll-free number). In addition, the IRS has posted an FAQs page to provide international taxpayers with basic information on its website.
One unintended disadvantage for taxpayers living abroad is the inability to access IRS services that require authentication, such as Online Account or the Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN). The authentication process for both Online Account and IP PIN registration requires a valid U.S. phone number; taxpayers without a U.S. phone number may encounter difficulties authenticating.
An alien is any individual who is not a U.S. citizen or U.S. national. A nonresident alien is an alien who has not passed the green card test or the substantial presence test. Nonresident aliens with a tax filing obligation file Form 1040-NR, U.S. Nonresident Alien Income Tax Return.