Getting your tax refunds on time can be a big hassle for many and in most cases, the delay is due to mistakes made by the taxpayers rather than a systemic delay caused by the IRS. Even when they seem tantalizingly close, a tax refund check can be frustratingly delayed for weeks for reasons that are not clear at first.
Although there is little that a taxpayer can do to speed up the delays, there is a lot that people can do at the filer end to hasten the check. Here are a few of the things that could bring your tax refund to your bank earlier than you ever expected.
The basic thing that you can do to hasten your tax refund is to file your tax returns as soon as possible. You get the money earlier of course, but there is another upside to it. It lowers the odds of scammers taking away your refund or stealing personal information which they can use later.
Tax refund thefts usually start when your personal information is compromised. Scammers collect the most they can about you and then use it to file fake tax returns and divert the funds to accounts that are under their control.
Things That Can Go Wrong With Your Tax Refund
Later when real tax filers try to file their returns they are confronted with error messages from their income tax software or an IRS letter telling them that they have already filed their income tax for that particular year. or they may get an institution from the IRS to send them more information. This will result in potentially a wait for weeks and even months as you wait for your tax refund and the IRS sorts things out.
One of the things that you need to avoid in the present age is filing a paper return. We are past that age and only an e-filing can ensure both securities of your tax refund are checked and also a much shorter period before you get your payments from the tax authorities in Washington.
Paper tax returns can drag on between 6 and 8 weeks to process and in some cases, the waiting period can also drag on for months as records with the IRS reveal. It would instead be prudent to file electronically, and the IRS should have you counting your notes within three weeks. There are several ways in which you can ensure today becomes the most important.
Instead, file electronically, and it should be good to go within a month. There are several ways to file an e-return. The Free File service of the IRS is available to any taxpayer with an Adjusted Gross Income of $73,000 or less. The IRS hooks you with branded tax-prep software to help you prepare and e-file your income tax return.
Even if your Adjusted Gross Income is above the income allowed for Free File, this service allows you to input data onto tax forms to e-file your returns.
Good tax preparers, including the big names in tax software, allow you to file electronically. People with very simple returns might even be allowed to use the free version that is offered by these major software providers.
Most sites also offer the option of free filing online for their state returns. The list of the states that give residents the option of free e-filing is available with the Federation of Tax Administrators.
The Internal Revenue Service has cited several issues that might contribute to the extension of the tax refund processing time and lead to delays in getting your tax refund. They include amended tax returns which delay tax refunds to about 16 weeks. filing for an injured spouse claim can also lead to a delay in getting the refund.
Renewing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) can also delay a tax refund. There is also a limit of three refunds a year on the number of direct deposits that go into a single tax account.
To avoid a delay in the future, you can consider changing your tax withholding for the next filing year. this way you can retain your cash instead of waiting for a tax refund that will return your money from the tax authorities. But there is also the danger that you may hold up way too much by way of tax withholding and end up owing more tax at the end of the year than you can manage at such short notice.
Calling Up The IRS To Check For Tax Refund Delays
If you feel that you should have received your tax refund earlier, you can contact the IRS directly. The agency recommends that you contact them for refunds only when it is past three weeks since you went for an electronic filing of your income tax returns.
You can also contact the authorities if it has been 6 weeks or more since you mailed your paper income tax returns. The “Where’s My Refund” tool advises you to contact the IRS in such cases. Before contacting the IRS, ensure that you have your ITIN number in hand.
The federal and state income taxes are separate processes of filing. When you expect a refund from your state, the definite timelines are linked to multiple factors that include your state. Similar to the federal income tax return, the time for processing the returns is usually much lesser if you go for e-filing your returns in your state.
To check out the progress of the state tax refund process, find the contact details of the tax department in your state. You will need personally-identifying information to receive specific on your tax refund. That includes your Social Security number and the amount of your tax refund.
You should also note that several states are going in for tax refunds through debit cards rather than through direct deposits or paper checks. This is expected to make it easier for people who do not have bank accounts.
Finally, we need to stress the problem of identity theft that rears its head during the tax season each year. IRS has revealed that thousands of individual filers have forfeited millions of dollars after falling victim to such scammers.