Taxpertise Tips - Bonnie Lee

Where’s my refund?

Hi Bonnie, I filed my taxes at the beginning of February and I still haven’t gotten my refund. I tried to call to find out what’s going on but got tired of holding. Do you know any reason why my refund would be delayed? And is there an easier way to find out what’s going on?

Matt, Petaluma

Dear Matt,

Thanks for writing, Matt. Sorry you are having trouble. Generally speaking, 9 out of 10 refunds are issued within 21 days of receiving the tax return. But there may be reasons for a delay.

Two reasons for a longer processing time would be if there are errors on the tax return or if your return is pulled for review. It also takes longer if your return contains Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation. Those claiming the Earned Income Credit (EIC) may find a delay if their preparer did not complete and attach the due diligence Form 8867 – Paid Preparer’s Earned Income Credit Checklist.

Some folks might not get their refunds at all or the amount they will receive may be reduced. If you owe back taxes, back child support or student loan payments, your refund will be taken and applied to that debt.

You can check the status of your refund by going and clicking on the Where’s My Refund button on the right hand side of the home page. Or you can use the IRS mobile app IRS2Go. You will need to know your social security number, filing status and the amount of your refund to proceed. If you electronically filed your tax return you can begin getting status updates after 24 hours has passed. This portal is updated every 24 hours. This portal does not contain information on prior year tax returns or amended income tax returns; it can only tell you about your 2012 tax return.

According to the IRS, the Where’s My Refund? button has new features that weren’t available last year.  The tool will include a tracker that displays progress through 3 stages: (1) Return Received, (2) Refund Approved and (3) Refund Sent. You will get personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return. The tool will provide an actual refund date as soon as the IRS processes your tax return and approves your refund.

Direct deposit of tax refunds is still the fastest way to go. Think about it. No delays – the money goes directly to one account, or can even be split to a second bank account. It’s much faster (about five days) than waiting for a check to be prepared then snail-mailed to you.

Bonnie Lee is an Enrolled Agent admitted to practice and representing taxpayers in all 50 states at all levels within the Internal Revenue Service. She is the owner of Taxpertise in Sonoma and the author of Entrepreneur Press book, “Taxpertise, The Complete Book of Dirty Little Secrets and Hidden Deductions for Small Business that the IRS Doesn’t Want You to Know.”

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