KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Thousands of people across Tennessee are still waiting on income tax returns. You may be one of them.

The Internal Revenue Service admits it is way behind in processing returns, especially for the forms the agency claims are incomplete or incorrect. WATE’s Don Dare spoke with a woman who is waiting on a refund she should have received last year.

Bobbie received this year’s refund within six weeks after it was filed electronically. But her return filed in 2021 is stuck somewhere. Every day when Bobbie goes to her mailbox, she anticipates receiving her income tax return, but so far it hasn’t arrived. Her 1040-SR form was sent electronically in the spring of last year. She requested a check, not a direct deposit.

She tried to get in touch with the local IRS office, but she could not get a person on the phone.

“I’ve tried to call and couldn’t get through to nobody. It all do-this and do-that. I’m not a computer person,” said Bobbie.

For her 2021 refund, she received that with no problems despite still waiting on the 2020 return.

“Still waiting. I don’t know if it’s been stolen or if’s been sent. You know, that’s what worried me,” said Bobbie. “It’s terrible. You wake up during the night with taxes on your mind. It can get you.”

Her return is lengthy. 2020 was the year her husband died. For privacy, we’re not revealing Bobbie’s last name. 2020 was also the year she sold land across from her home. She’s contacted her accountant, the company that filled out the return.

“All they said was I wasn’t the only one that was waiting on a tax refund,” said Bobbie.

In June, The Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the IRS expressed “concern about continuing delays and the impact on taxpayer refunds.” The TAS said, “the backlog is crushing the IRS, its employees and more importantly, taxpayers.” The service wrote “key taxpayer challenges this year have included return processing delays, correspondence processing delays, and difficulty reaching the IRS by phone.”

“I don’t know what to do. I’ve done all I know to do, but still no help,” said Bobbie. She added that the wait waiting a year and a half seems kind of excessive.

The National Taxpayer Advocate reports there are telephone challenges. The NTA report says during the 2022 filing season, the IRS received about 73 million telephone calls. Only one out of 10 calls reached an IRS employee. The time the average taxpayer spent waiting on hold rose from 20 minutes to 29 minutes.

Apparently, the processing of paper-filed tax returns has gummed up taxpayer refunds. At the end of May, the agency had a backlog of 21 million unprocessed paper tax returns, an increase of 1.3 million over the same time last year.