IRS operations: Status of mission-critical functions

We're processing tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence. However, we continue to experience delays. We are working hard to get through the inventory.

Our service delays include:

  • Processing tax returns that need to be reviewed and corrected
  • Answering mail from taxpayers

Check this page periodically for updates.

What you can expect

Look at the following list of actions – whether that's sending us your individual or business tax return or answering a letter from us. Then, open the action to see how long you may have to wait and what to do next.

We’ve processed all paper and electronic individual returns received prior to October 2023, and we’re opening mail within normal time frames. This means we’ve processed all returns we’ve received for tax year 2021 or earlier if those returns had no errors or didn’t require further review.

As of November 11, 2023, we had 953,000 unprocessed individual returns. These include tax years 2022 and 2021 returns that need review or correction and late filed prior year returns. Of these, 700,000 returns require error correction or other special handling, and 253,000 are paper returns waiting to be reviewed and processed. This work doesn’t typically require us to correspond with taxpayers, but it does require special handling by an IRS employee, so in these instances it’s taking the IRS more than 21 days to issue any related refund.

How long you may have to wait: For returns received in the current year, we process individual tax returns for which refunds are due first. Tax returns reflecting tax owed are processed last, but if a payment is mailed with the tax return, the payment is separated upon receipt and deposited to ensure the taxpayer account is credited for the payment. We continue to process tax returns that need to be manually reviewed due to errors in the order received.

As the return is processed, whether it was filed electronically or on paper, it may be delayed because it has a mistake, is missing information, or there is suspicious activity referred by banks. If we can fix it without contacting you, we will. If we need more information or need you to verify you sent the tax return, we’ll send you a letter. The resolution of these issues could take more than 120 days depending on how quickly and accurately you respond, and how quickly we can complete the processing of your return. The Where's My Refund? tool and our phone representatives may not be able to provide you with a specific refund date. Taxpayers are encouraged to check Tax Season Refund Frequently Asked Questions.

What you should do: In most instances, no further action is needed. We’ll contact you by mail if we need more information or if we made a change to your return. If you filed electronically and received an acknowledgement, you don’t need to take any further action other than promptly responding to any requests for information.

However, if you are due a refund, filed on paper more than six months ago, and Where’s My Refund? does not indicate we received your return, you should resubmit your tax return, electronically if possible. Make sure it includes an original signature, and include all documents submitted with the original return.

Please don’t file your tax return again unless you receive a notice from the IRS asking you to resubmit a new signed copy of your tax return.  Check Where’s My Refund? or view Your Online Account for possible updates.

Status of processing Form 1040-X, Amended Individual Tax Return: As of November 11, 2023, we had 770,000 unprocessed Forms 1040-X. We’re processing these returns in the order received and the current timeframe can be more than 20 weeks. Please don't file the same return more than once.  Taxpayers should continue to check Where's My Amended Return? for the most up to date processing status available.

Status of processing Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return: Form 941 and Form 941-X are employment tax forms that may include claims for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). In July the IRS slowed processing of returns that involve the Employee Retention Credit due to the complexity of the amended returns and the increase in aggressive and misleading marketing campaigns luring honest small businesses and organizations into claiming the ERC when they're not eligible for it.

On September 14, 2023, the IRS announced that IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel ordered an immediate moratorium on processing new ERC claims. The moratorium will run through at least December 31, 2023, following growing concerns that a substantial share of new claims from the aging program are ineligible and increasingly putting honest businesses at financial risk by being pressured and scammed by aggressive promoters and marketing.

The IRS continues to work claims received prior to the moratorium but renewed a reminder that increased fraud concerns means processing times will be longer.

As of November 16, 2023, we had 1.6 million unprocessed Forms 941. If you filed electronically and received an acknowledgement, you don't need to take any further action other than promptly responding to any requests for information. These tax returns are processed in the order received. Please don't file a second tax return.

As of November 15, 2023, our total inventory of unprocessed Forms 941-X was approximately 983,000 some of which cannot be processed until the related 941s are processed.

Please check this page for updates.

How long you may have to wait: While we are opening mail within our normal timeframe, processing these responses is taking longer than usual due to resource restrictions. The exact timeframe varies depending on the type of issue. 

What you should do: Once you’ve answered the letter or notice, you don’t need to answer it again. We’re working through all taxpayer replies in the order we received them and will consider your reply as of the date it was received, not the date we reviewed it. 

See Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for more information including who is eligible and how to get or renew an ITIN.

The IRS is currently processing Forms W-7, Application for IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Number that were received in October 2023. We are processing requests in the order they were received. You will be notified once your ITIN is assigned or if we need additional information. Original identification documents that are submitted with the Form W-7 will be returned to you at the mailing address of record as quickly as possible. The associated tax return will then be submitted for processing.

Other than responding to any requests for information promptly, there is no action you should take. Do not file a second Form W-7 or tax return.

You will receive notification that your case has been resolved. This is generally within 120 days, but due to extenuating circumstances caused by the pandemic our identity theft inventories have increased and on average it is taking about 480 days to resolve identity theft cases. The IRS is committed to resolving identity theft cases as quickly as possible, and we are taking steps to reduce this timeframe to 120 days or less.

What you should do: Other than responding to any requests for information promptly, there is no action you should take. You will be contacted when your case is resolved. Please do not submit duplicate Forms 14039 or 14039-B nor contact the IRS about the status of your identity theft claim.  

Additional resources:

How long you may have to wait: We continue to experience processing times longer than the normal 90-day statutory period. Currently, we cannot provide a timeframe. Submissions are processed in the order in which they are received. 

What you should do: Please consider the significant additional approval time and plan for it. Do not submit duplicate claims. Duplicate filings will only cause more delays.

How long you may have to wait: The processing timeframe is currently 12 weeks. Most applications now being processed were received in March 2023. Processing can be delayed if an application is missing information – most often a copy of the individual income tax return. Other issues include missing pages of Form 8802 and Social Security number mismatches. If any of these issues occurs, we send a letter requesting the missing information and temporarily hold the case to allow for a response. In many circumstances, responses are not received, and the cases are then closed.

To avoid this type of delay, please verify the accuracy of information on your application and submit all supporting documents with it. Page 4 of IRS instructions for Form 8802PDF recommends customers submit a copy of their return to aid in processing. Write “COPY — do not process” on the tax return.  

The United States Residency Certification Program will temporarily accept a signed copy of the base return (for example, page 2 of Form 1040, page 6 of Form 1120, page 5 of Form 1065, etc.) in order to process the Form 8802. The base return will be kept as part of the Form 8802 application and will not be forwarded for processing. The base return will be used to process the Form 8802, rather than requiring the taxpayer to submit a copy of their full return. By filing a signed copy of the base return with your Form 8802, you are attesting that you have previously filed the income tax return with the IRS as shown on the signed copy.  This temporary deviation is effective April 4, 2022 and will continue for a pilot period of two years, after which, a determination will be made whether this deviation will be made permanent.

What you should do: If you receive a letter from IRS requesting additional information, please respond with the requested information timely to aid processing and prevent us from closing the application. If it has been longer than 15 weeks since an application has been submitted and you have not heard from us, please call 267-941-1000 (option 3) to ask for a status.

If you prefer for the certificate(s) to be mailed by a Private Delivery Service (PDS), provide a prepaid label and envelope/box and refer to Private Delivery Services for a list of available PDS locations.

How long you may have to wait: Currently, we cannot provide a timeframe. Submissions through mail, fax, or online submission platform are processed in the order in which they are received. 

What you should do: Please consider the significant additional approval time and plan for it. Do not submit duplicate authorizations. Duplicate filings will only cause more delays.

Consider filing Form 2848, Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative, and 8821, Tax Information Authorization, online through Tax Pro Account. Tax Pro Account allows individual tax professionals who have a previously assigned Centralized Authorization Number (CAF) Number to securely request authorizations online in lieu of mailing or faxing paper forms.  Once necessary steps are completed and approved, the authorization is automatically loaded to the CAF Database.

The Submit Forms 2848 and 8821 Online tool allows both Form 2848 and Form 8821 authorizations containing electronic signatures to be securely uploaded online, but it still requires manual processing.

We’ll temporarily allow digital signatures on certain forms that can’t be filed electronically.

What you should do: You can send us the following forms with digital signatures if they are postmarked from August 28, 2020, through October 31, 2023:

  • Form 11-C, Occupational Tax and Registration Return for Wagering
  • Form 637, Application for Registration (For Certain Excise Tax Activities)
  • Form 706, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 706-A, U.S. Additional Estate Tax Return
  • Form 706-GS(D), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Distributions
  • Form 706-GS(D-1), Notification of Distribution from a Generation-Skipping Trust
  • Form 706-GS(T), Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return for Terminations
  • Form 706-QDT, U.S. Estate Tax Return for Qualified Domestic Trusts
  • Form 706 Schedule R-1, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
  • Form 706-NA, U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 709, U.S. Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return
  • Form 730, Monthly Tax Return for Wagers
  • Form 1042, Annual Withholding Tax Return for U.S. Source Income of Foreign Persons
  • Form 1066, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit
  • Form 1120-C, U.S. Income Tax Return for Cooperative Associations
  • Form 1120-FSC, U.S. Income Tax Return of a Foreign Sales Corporation
  • Form 1120-H, U.S. Income Tax Return for Homeowners Associations
  • Form 1120-IC DISC, Interest Charge Domestic International Sales – Corporation Return
  • Form 1120-L, U.S. Life Insurance Company Income Tax Return
  • Form 1120-ND, Return for Nuclear Decommissioning Funds and Certain Related Persons
  • Form 1120-PC, U.S. Property and Casualty Insurance Company Income Tax Return
  • Form 1120-REIT, U.S. Income Tax Return for Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Form 1120-RIC, U.S. Income Tax Return for Regulated Investment Companies
  • Form 1128, Application to Adopt, Change or Retain a Tax Year
  • Form 2678, Employer/Payer Appointment of Agent
  • Form 3115, Application for Change in Accounting Method
  • Form 3520, Annual Return to Report Transactions with Foreign Trusts and Receipt of Certain Foreign Gifts
  • Form 3520-A, Annual Information Return of Foreign Trust with a U.S. Owner
  • Form 4421, Declaration – Executor’s Commissions and Attorney’s Fees
  • Form 4768, Application for Extension of Time to File a Return and/or Pay U.S. Estate (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Taxes
  • Form 8038, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Private Activity Bond Issues
  • Form 8038-G, Information Return for Tax-Exempt Governmental Bonds
  • Form 8038-GC Information Return for Small Tax-Exempt Governmental Bond Issues, Leases, and Installment Sales
  • Form 8283, Noncash Charitable Contributions
  • Form 8453 series, Form 8878 series, and Form 8879 series regarding IRS e-file Signature Authorization Forms and
  • Form 8802, Application for U.S. Residency Certification
  • Form 8832, Entity Classification Election
  • Form 8971, Information Regarding Beneficiaries Acquiring Property from a Decedent
  • Form 8973, Certified Professional Employer Organization/Customer Reporting Agreement
  • Elections made pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 83(b)

For more information, see details on using e-signatures for certain forms

If you were an employer who reduced your tax deposits because you planned to claim the sick and family leave credits, or employee retention credit in the second quarter of 2020, you may have received a notice stating there was a Failure to Deposit Penalty for Form 941.

Why you received this: When you reported the schedule of liabilities on Form 941, Employer’s Quarterly Federal Tax Return, the liabilities didn’t match the reduction in deposits for every pay date. When this happened, you received a Failure to Deposit Penalty on the difference.

For more information, see Failure to deposit penalties on some employers claiming new tax credits.

Other services

Other services have also been affected. Open the following actions to check our availability and processing times if you:

Our telephone support is open, both for taxpayers and tax professionals.

To get help faster, try one of the following options. Our website is the best way to find answers to questions about tax law or check on your refund, tax payment, Economic Impact Payment or Advance Child Tax Credit.

​​​​​You can go to for online tools such as:

For other issues, including how to get in-person help at our TACs, by appointment only, visit Let Us Help You to find a phone number for the office that can best answer your question.

Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS): All local TAS phone lines remain open. TAS is committed to assisting taxpayers and advocating for their rights during this difficult period. Please call us at 877-777-4778 or visit Taxpayer Advocate Service – Contact Us to find your local TAS office phone number. We can determine if you qualify for our help, we can address your questions, or help set up an appointment.

Lien releases, certificates of discharge and other lien issues are being processed as normal.

How long you may have to wait: You should receive a response within 30 days.

What you should do: Use the EFAX line for our Advisory Consolidated Receipts (ACR) site (844-201-8382) for requests such as:

  • Discharge of property from the federal tax lien
  • Withdrawal of the notice of the federal tax lien
  • Subordination of the federal tax lien

See Publication 4235, Collection Advisory Group Numbers and AddressesPDF for more information on the process for submitting applications for lien certificates and related topics.

The Independent Office of Appeals is continuing to fulfill our mission of resolving disputes, without litigation, in a way that is fair and impartial to you and the government. If your case qualifies for an appeal, we will review the issues of your case with a fresh, objective perspective and schedule a conference with you. You have the option to meet with us in person or by telephone or video, or to conduct your appeal by correspondence. Many taxpayers prefer the convenience of a telephone or video conference. If you prefer to meet with us in person, we will do our best to identify a reasonably convenient time and location, but you should know there are some limits and restrictions that may apply.

What you should do: An Appeals employee will contact you to schedule a conference in your case.  If you have already been contacted by an Appeals employee, direct any questions you have to that employee. 

How long you may have to wait: We are continuing to work through a high volume of cases that accumulated over the course of the pandemic and appreciate your patience. The amount of time you may have to wait to have your case heard in Appeals varies, but once you are contacted by an Appeals employee, you can help resolve your case timely by submitting all required information and scheduling a telephone conference or videoconference with the Appeals employee. 

The Office of Chief Counsel continues to resolve cases prior to trial and to litigate other cases. While the U.S. Tax Court has resumed in person proceedings, it continues to conduct some trials and hearings virtually. Taxpayers who wish to have their cases conducted virtually before the U.S. Tax Court using Zoom for Government may file a motion with the U.S. Tax Court requesting to be allowed to proceed remotely. Additional information is available at the United States Tax Court website.

Counsel is available to discuss your case by telephone, by videoconference, or to meet with you or your representative face-to-face. Counsel continues to conduct both in person and virtual settlement days to provide additional opportunities for taxpayers to resolve their cases.

How long you may have to wait: The amount of time you may have to wait for resolution varies, but you may resolve your case quickly by settling prior to trial.

What you should do: If your case is docketed in the Tax Court, call the attorney assigned to your case. You can find that information on the document you received with the title “Answer.” Look in the signature block. Counsel attorneys can discuss your case by telephone, by arranging a video conference using Zoom for Government, or by meeting face-to-face.

IRS enforcement and compliance operations

The IRS announced a major policy change that will end most unannounced visits to taxpayers by agency revenue officers to reduce public confusion and increase overall safety. The change reverses a decades-long practice by IRS Revenue Officers, the unarmed agency employees whose duties included visiting households and businesses to collect unpaid taxes or secure unfiled returns. Effective immediately, the unscheduled visits will end except in a few circumstances. Revenue officers will now schedule appointments with taxpayers to visit them at their location when necessary to resolve their tax issue.

Most collection enforcement programs (including the systemic and automated lien and levy programs, and automated levy programs such as the Federal Payment Levy Program and the State Income Tax Levy Program) are currently paused. Field collection revenue officers are assigned specific taxpayer cases and are operating with their normal authorities. Field and face-to-face contacts were restricted during the pandemic, but normal field activities resumed effective June 27, 2022.

The IRS is aware that some payments made for 2021 tax returns have not been correctly applied to joint taxpayer accounts, and these taxpayers are receiving erroneous balance due notices (CP-14 notices) or notices showing the incorrect amount. These are the first notices issued after a tax return is processed.

No immediate action or phone call needed: Taxpayers who receive a notice but paid the tax they owed in full and on time, electronically or by check, should not respond to the notice at this time. The IRS is researching the matter and will provide an update as soon as possible.

Aside from the first billing notice after a tax return is processed, we have paused the issuance of most balance due notices. Note however that revenue officers are operating with their normal authorities and may issue notices on the cases they are working.  

The IRS has expanded voice bot options to help eligible taxpayers easily verify their identity to set up or modify a payment plan while avoiding long wait times. Eligible taxpayers who call the Automated Collection System (ACS) and Accounts Management toll-free lines and want to discuss payment plan options can authenticate or verify their identities through a personal identification number (PIN) creation process. Setting up a PIN is easy: taxpayers will need their most recent IRS bill and some basic personal information to complete the process.

The IRS is transmitting certifications of seriously delinquent tax debt to the Department of State per its normal procedures. Affected taxpayers generally owe the IRS more than $55,000 (this figure is adjusted annually for inflation) in back taxes, penalties and interest for which the IRS has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the period to challenge it has expired, or the IRS has issued a levy. As of December 2021, taxpayers previously certified owe on average more than $240,000 in outstanding tax debt, often extending back more than 7 years. The great majority of these are pre-pandemic liabilities and are considered a priority for the IRS due to the amount owed and length of time the taxpayers have been delinquent without working with the IRS to resolve their debts. Per the law, the State Department generally will not renew their passport or issue a new passport after receiving this certification from the IRS, and in some cases may revoke the passport. 

IRS offers a number of programs to help taxpayers meet their tax obligations including payment agreements, Offers in Compromise, and, if the IRS determines a taxpayer cannot pay any of their tax debt, a temporary delay of the collection process. When the tax liability is paid in full, the taxpayer has been found to be currently not collectible, or the taxpayer has entered into an installment agreement or has a pending Offer in Compromise, the tax debt is no longer considered to be seriously delinquent and the certification to the State Department is reversed. 

  • Payment agreements. Taxpayers can ask for a payment plan with the IRS by filing Form 9465. Taxpayers can download this form from and mail it along with a tax return, bill or notice. Some taxpayers can use the online payment agreement application to set up a monthly payment agreement without having to speak to the IRS by phone.
  • Some taxpayers may qualify for an Offer in Compromise, an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles the tax liability for less than the full amount owed. The IRS looks at the taxpayer’s income and assets to decide the taxpayer’s ability to pay. Taxpayers can use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier tool to help them decide whether they’re eligible for an Offer in Compromise. 
  • The IRS may temporarily delay the collection process by reporting the account as currently not collectible, if it determines a taxpayer is unable to pay any of their tax debt. To request a temporary delay of the collection process, taxpayers should contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 or call the phone number on their bill or notice. 

The denial of passports webpage has more information about the passport program.

We’ve issued the following memos that cover a variety of issues for the tax professional community: