The place Is My Tax Refund? Why You’re Nonetheless Ready and What to Do

Likelihood is you bought your third stimulus verify months in the past, however you should still be ready on that different chunk of change the IRS owes you: your tax refund. 

As of June 5, the IRS is sitting on a backlog of 18.2 million particular person tax returns. Many require guide processing, which mainly implies that a human must overview it. 

To be clear, most taxpayers who e-file had their returns processed and obtained their refunds inside 21 days, in line with the IRS. However if you happen to’re nonetheless ready and questioning “the place is my tax refund?”, right here’s what’s happening and how one can observe it.

Why You Haven’t Acquired Your Tax Refund

The 2020 tax season was an particularly difficult one for IRS employees and accountants.

There have been numerous complexities created by the three stimulus payments, the latest of which handed in the midst of tax season. Together with the same old tax season mayhem, the IRS was tasked with delivering the third stimulus verify. Plus, tax season began 16 days later than normal this yr. These challenges prompted the IRS to increase the tax deadline to Might 17. 

For instance, individuals who usually qualify for the Earned Revenue Tax Credit score, a credit score for low- and middle-income working households, might not have been eligible in 2020 because of expanded unemployment advantages. The $900 billion stimulus bundle that handed in December modified the principles to permit households to make use of 2019 revenue to qualify as a substitute of 2020 revenue. 

Nevertheless, the IRS didn’t have time to replace its packages to mirror this alteration, so if you happen to’re in search of the Earned Revenue Tax Credit score primarily based on 2019’s revenue, an IRS worker might want to manually overview it.

The identical applies if you happen to’re eligible for stimulus cash from the primary two checks primarily based in your 2020 return that you simply didn’t qualify for primarily based in your 2019 or 2018 return. For instance, in case your 2019 revenue was greater than your 2020 revenue, you could qualify for extra stimulus cash. Or if you happen to had a baby in 2020, you’d get stimulus credit on their behalf. These conditions additionally require a guide overview.

However your tax refund is also delayed for all the explanations that may apply in a standard yr. For instance, in case your refund was despatched to a checking account that you simply’ve since closed, the IRS will finally minimize you a paper verify, however that provides to the wait time. Your refund can even be delayed if you happen to made an error or your return was incomplete.

The IRS might take your refund and use it to offset what you owe if you happen to owe sure sorts of debt like baby help or again taxes, 

If the IRS suspects fraud involving your return, you is also in for an extended wait to your refund — which has been a rising drawback for taxpayers. IRS fraud filters flagged about 5.2 million returns for 2020, in line with the Taxpayer Advocate Service. That’s virtually a 50% enhance from 2019. 

Most returns flagged for fraud don’t become fraudulent. However about 25% of returns flagged for revenue verification took 56 days or extra to course of in 2020. About 18% of these flagged for identification verification took longer than 120 days. 

Paper returns require guide processing, so if you happen to’ve filed by paper, anticipate an extended wait, even when there aren’t any points together with your return. 

Should you made an error that requires an amended return, your tax season will likely be much more extended. The IRS will notify you of the error by mail, and also you’ll need to ship in Type 1040X. There’s just one approach to do that: by mail. Then, your amended return will likely be added to the 18.2 million unprocessed returns.

What to Do if You’re Nonetheless Ready

Step one is to verify the IRS has really obtained your return. 

You’ll be able to observe your return utilizing the The place’s My Refund characteristic on the IRS web site or the IRS2Go app. You’ll want to offer your Social Safety quantity, submitting standing and your actual refund quantity.

However these instruments have restricted usefulness. In case your return has been processed, they let you know when your refund is scheduled to be deposited, however they don’t present details about why a return continues to be being processed or whether or not it is advisable present further info, which prompted current criticism from the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

It is best to have the ability to see whether or not the IRS has accepted your return inside 24 hours if you happen to filed electronically. If the IRS has accepted your return, that simply means it has confirmed it obtained it. The IRS nonetheless has to course of it. 

In case your return is flagged for fraud, you received’t have the ability to get particular details about your return standing or when you possibly can anticipate your refund utilizing the IRS web site and app, which has added to the frustration for a lot of taxpayers. 

Should you despatched a paper return, you possibly can anticipate an extended wait earlier than you possibly can affirm that the IRS even has your return. Even in regular circumstances, monitoring a paper return can take about 4 weeks.

The IRS says its employees will make it easier to analysis the standing of your refund provided that you filed electronically greater than three weeks in the past or despatched it by mail not less than six weeks in the past, or if The place’s My Refund tells you to get in contact. 

However solely about 1 in 4 taxpayers who known as the IRS in 2020 really had their telephone name answered. Even if you happen to’re one of many fortunate ones who will get by to a human, they in all probability received’t have the ability to provide you with a lot info. The IRS programs don’t inform staff who deal with telephone calls why a return required guide processing. However if you wish to strive, the quantity for checking the standing of a refund is 800-829-1954.

Robin Hartill is an authorized monetary planner and a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. She writes the Pricey Penny private finance recommendation column. Ship your difficult cash inquiries to [email protected]

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