The Internal Revenue Service is geared up for more than 45 million individual tax returns that are expected to be filed during the next 12 days. But if you’ve waited this late to file, you’ll have to wait longer than usual for a refund.
Even so, Commissioner Roscoe L. Egger Jr. promised today, the IRS is not worried that the last-minute crush will create the kind of delays and backlogs that embarrassed the agency last year.
“We are not having any real complaints of refunds not coming back at a reasonable time,” Egger told a news conference. “There is nothing that has come up in the system at all this year that gives us any real concern about the possibility of something (bad) happening.”
On the average, Egger said, refunds have been going out within five weeks after the return is filed. As the April 15 filing deadline approaches, that will be stretched to six or seven weeks.
The IRS expects 104 million couples and individuals to file returns this year. About 54 million had been received by March 27, the latest figures available, leaving perhaps 48 million to be filed between that date and April 15. (Some taxpayers will file late and pay a penalty; others will receive a four-month filing extension).
“In this last crunch,” Egger said, “we get such large volumes that even with our high-speed equipment it takes us up to 10 days just to open the mail.”
Even with the IRS working at full speed, some taxpayers will be paid interest because their refund was not processed within 45 days after the April 15 deadline. Egger estimated the interest payments will total about $37 million, compared with $49.5 million last year and $33 million in 1984.
The IRS has processed 76% of the 54 million returns it has received this year. At this time in 1985, because of computer and personnel problems, only 54% had been processed, forcing millions of people to wait as long as several months for their refunds.