At a hearing before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Montana Senator Steve Daines took IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig to task over an issue regarding a constituent from Billings who was attempting to deal with the estate of his deceased mother, but needed the cooperation of the IRS.
“A Montanan from Billings brought an issue to my attention that I’d like to briefly discuss,” said Daines. “This individual lost his mother in January of 2020, and only then found out that she had not filed her taxes for fiscal years 2017, 2018 and 2019 due to the fact she was ill. He completed and mailed the returns to the IRS in April of 2020, so about a year ago.”
“This Montanan is trying to close out the estate, however he can’t do so until he receives the refunds as a result of filing these tax returns, and the IRS is not showing they received the refunds,” he said. “My office submitted copies of these returns to the IRS to ensure that they had them.”
Daines said he has received many other such complaints about the severe IRS mail backlog from other Montanans.
“I’ve heard from other Montanans who have he filed or mailed in returns that are not showing up in the IRS system as having been received,” he said. “In some instances, this backlog has prevented individuals from even receiving an economic impact payment. My question, Commissioner Rettig, is could you provide any sort of timetable for when the IRS might fully clear out its mail backlog and help Montanans navigating through tough situations like this constituent from Billings?”
Rettig responded to Daines saying the mail backlog at the IRS is current, however he provided his cell phone number to Daines’ committee.
“Our mail is current,” said Commissioner Rettig. “We get about a million to a million and a half pieces of mail per week. Obviously, we’re a large operation in terms of that. So our mail is current on the matters that you referenced. I would encourage your staff to reach out to me or to my staff. I think pretty much everybody on the committee has my cell phone. I’ve handed that out to members of the committee and with the intent that you do so and feel free to use it to contact me and then also Deputy Commissioner Jeff Tribiano, because those items seem unusually long, and certainly April seems unusually long with respect to the estate. We will have somebody look into that.”
KGVO has asked Daines’ staff to let us know if and what that situation is resolved.