IRS Posts Information on Check Processing, 2019 Return Backlog, and Incorrect Notices

The IRS is working through a backlog of paper-filed 2019 tax returns, checks, and correspondence resulting from a COVID-19  related shutdown in mid-March.  It has been reported that the IRS had as much as 12 million pieces of unopened mail waiting to be processed.

The IRS recalled thousands of workers at the beginning of the summer. While taxpayer assistance centers began reopening at the end of June, it will likely be several months before the IRS catches up.

Incorrect Notices

Taxpayers have received incorrect notices where the payment was timely made but has not been processed or posted. The IRS urges taxpayers not to cancel the check. The check will be posted as of the date received. Our advice is to wait if you made the payment on time and have received a notice.

Delayed Refunds

Taxpayers have experienced significant delays in refunds. The IRS refund tracker is updated once a day, so there is no need to check more frequently. Those filing paper returns will experience longer delays – there was an estimated backlog of 4.7 million paper-filed returns as of mid-May. The July filing deadline added to the backlog. Any return which requires review, paper-filed or electronically-filed, will be delayed since many review processes cannot be done virtually.


Expect longer delays to receive replies on correspondence.

2020 Estimated Tax Payments

Do not be concerned if checks for estimated tax payments have not cleared. As stated above, do not cancel the check.