Q&A: Caught in the IRS backlog

Dear Liz: In 2021, we helped two of our children buy a condo. One of them confessed she hadn’t filed taxes for several years. We worked on the returns together, and it turned out that nothing was owed. Meanwhile, the IRS has never acknowledged the delayed tax filings or refunded the (small) overpayments. Shouldn’t the IRS have completed these filings by now?

Answer: The IRS says it has processed all paper and electronic individual returns for tax year 2021 or earlier if those returns had no errors or did not require further review. Returns that were filed late, however, may still be part of the agency’s backlog.

Your child can try using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS site or create an online account to check for possible updates. Keep in mind that there’s a three-year limit to claim a refund; after that point, the U.S. Treasury gets to keep the money.