Refunds in Limbo? Help in Tracking it Down!

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I had a couple of clients call me when their refunds for tax returns filed in March 2013 where still not sent to them. Not many are lucky enough to get tax refunds, so for those who do, they eagerly await their checks! Typically the IRS says that it takes 21 days for them to issue a refund check once they have received your return, but if it's taking longer than this, don't panic-understanding why the hold up may occur can alleviate some of your concerns. 

Snailmail And Reviews 

The method used to file your taxes is important. If you e-filed, you are likely to get your refund faster. When mailed in, your taxes get reviewed by an actual person and this can take several days to be completed. The taxes are subject to an editing program. This will add to the time taken to process your tax return.  

Incorrect Information And Software Problems

If the information provided by you does not match up with what has been received by
the IRS, the process is delayed. Filings in 2013 were delayed by software glitches, especially with Education Credits Form 8863. Several "Do-It-Yourself" software were effected by this, especially H & R Block's Tax Cut. With "Turbo Tax", there were issues regarding some state returns. Many credit forms were held up due to pending approvals from the government.

Tax Refund Method Chosen

Add another week when you ask your refund check to be mailed to you. Provided your tax return did not have any of the above delays, and you had asked for your refund to be direct deposited, you get it the next day. If not, the you have to wait for the check to be mailed, to reach you & then to be cleared by the bank once you deposit it into your bank account. 

You Got Less Than What You Had Expected

If you did get your refund but it was less than expected, it could be due to various reasons or offsets due to your/ your spouse's tax issues:
  • You owe IRS money for a previous year
  • You owe a state money
  • You owe back child support or spousal support & the court has filed a lien
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    against you refunds
  • You owe the Social Security Administration
  • You owe on Student Loans
  • You need to repay Unemployment Compensation
You may have claimed credits that are being investigated by the IRS OR there are other debts & credit collection agencies have filed liens against your refunds. 

Where's My Refund? 

You can check the status of your refund on the IRS Tool: "Where's My Refund?" The site is updated every 24 hours. If you cannot get information from there, you can call 1-800-829-1040. If that does not help you either, contact your closet Taxpayer Advocate Service. 

You can also request a free transcript of your tax return, a Form 4506-T. If you think that some of the taxes being held back are due to back taxes/ debts owed by your spouse, you can file an Innocent Spouse or Injured Spouse Form to at least get your share of the refund. 

Please be sure to contact a tax professional if you need help with the above. 

As always, read my disclaimer here. Please consult a qualified tax professional for your unique tax needs. More of my contact information is on my website, 



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