NTA's mid-year report to Congress

National Taxpayer Advocate assessed tax filing season and identifies areas for IRS improvement in mid-year report to Congress

National Taxpayer Advocate Erin M. Collins today released her statutorily mandated mid-year report to Congress. The report presents an assessment of the 2021 filing season, identifies key objectives the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) will pursue during the upcoming fiscal year, and contains the IRS’s responses to each of the 73 administrative recommendations the National Taxpayer Advocate made in her 2020 Annual Report to Congress.

The mid-year report emphasizes that the difficulties the IRS faced in performing its traditional work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the added responsibilities it was assigned to make three rounds of stimulus payments combined to create significant challenges for taxpayers.

“This past year and the 2021 filing season conjure up every possible cliché for taxpayers, tax professionals, the IRS, and its employees,” Ms. Collins wrote. “It was a perfect storm; it was the best of times and the worst of times; patience is a virtue; with experience comes wisdom and with wisdom comes experience; out of the ashes we rise; and we experienced historical highs and lows.”

Although the IRS processed 136 million individual income tax returns, the IRS still faces a backlog of over 35 million individual and business income tax returns that require manual processing. In addition, during the 2021 filing season the IRS reported a level of service on its Accounts Management telephone lines of 15 percent, with only seven percent of taxpayer calls reaching a telephone assistor. On the most frequently called IRS toll-free number, only three percent of callers reached a telephone assistor.

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About the Taxpayer Advocate Service

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Your local taxpayer advocate’s number is in your local directory and at You can also call TAS toll-free at 877-777-4778. TAS can help if you need assistance in resolving an IRS problem, if your problem is causing financial difficulty, or if you believe an IRS system or procedure isn’t working as it should. Our service is free. For more information about TAS and your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, go to You can get updates on tax topics at,, and

In addition, TAS continues to expand its Online Digital Roadmap Tool to assist even more taxpayers with navigating the complexity of the tax system. By entering a notice or letter number, taxpayers can determine where they are on the roadmap, why they received the notice or letter, what rights they have, what they must do next, and where they can get additional help.