PARAMUS, NJ (Bergen County) — Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) Monday spoke at the IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center in Paramus to sound the alarm on the massive backlog of tax returns keeping dollars out of the pockets of hardworking families in North Jersey and nationwide.
Gottheimer announced his Taxpayer Action Plan to help cut the bureaucratic red tape at the IRS and how he and his team have clawed back $1.2 million in tax refunds for North Jersey families in the last two years.
Gottheimer was joined by three Fifth District residents — Jay Hirschhorn, Stewart Bard, and Nile Hagag — who waited months, and in some cases more than a year, to get back what was rightfully theirs: their tax refund. He was also joined by Bergen County Commissioner Mary Amoroso and Ralph Thomas, the CEO and Executive Director of the NJ Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Gottheimer’s Taxpayer Action Plan includes the following steps:
- Demand that the IRS fix their antiquated bureaucracy and create an immediate plan to efficiently and effectively process the backlog of millions of tax returns mailed to them;
- Request that the IRS boost resources at the Taxpayer Advocate Service — an office within the agency devoted to taxpayers’ interests, including hiring and training new taxpayer advocates;
- Upgrade the antiquated, out of date IRS tax processing technology that was created in the 1960s;
- Request that the IRS to report to Congress in the next 30 days with their plan to address the backlog;
- Help the Fifth District to claw back their tax refunds by working one-one one with residents and families to track down their tax returns and expedite the process of receiving their refunds.
In recent months, Gottheimer has helped lead several efforts to urge IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig and U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to create an action plan to solve this massive backlog and ask them to boost resources at the Taxpayer Advocate Service, including hiring and training new taxpayer advocates.
“The IRS bureaucracy is costing people like Stewart Bard thousands of dollars that they are due back in their returns. That’s money to help pay for groceries, a winter jacket, home heating bills, or to fix a car,” Gottheimer said. “It’s just not right, and, from my seat on the Financial Services Committee, I’ve been all over the IRS and Treasury Department. That’s why, this morning, I’m announcing my Taxpayer Action Plan — to help cut the bureaucratic red tape that led to this backlog at the IRS, get these returns processed, and your well-deserved dollars back in your pockets.”
Right now, nearly 24 million American taxpayers — including families who live right here in North Jersey — are still waiting for the IRS to process their tax returns from last year — with many refunds being held up for nearly eleven months. Delayed IRS refunds and returns are affecting millions of Americans and small businesses. When a tax return is delayed, that might mean a family can’t afford a down payment on a mortgage or apply for a student loan because they can’t provide the required tax transcript.
Since the start of the pandemic, Gottheimer has helped claw back $1.2 million in tax returns for North Jersey residents.
“I decided to get in touch with Josh Gottheimer’s office and spoke to Mike,” said Stewart Bard, a resident from Westwood. “Thank God I spoke to Mike and got the refund.”
“While we commend the measures the IRS has recently taken to suspend sending certain notices and to realign their staff to address the backlog of returns, more can and should be done,” said Ralph Albert Thomas, CPA, CEO and Executive Director of the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. “I thank Congressman Gottheimer for helping to bring the IRS service issues to light for the benefit of taxpayers here in New Jersey and across the country.”