When it comes to tax season I receive a lot of reader questions, many tinged with a hint of desperation, around why IRS tax refunds are taking so long and what can be done to get refunds sooner rather than later. Here is a sampling of comments from the current and past tax seasons:
Help me please. I filled February 4th and my taxes were expected Feb 7th. I filled head of household and claimed both of my children and have my own business so I have a schedule c. I’m still waiting. All the websites are saying my taxes are still being processed and I need this money now and every time I call IRS I get automated people HELP [Jenny]
Well I filed on Feb 14 and still wmr [where is my refund] says still processing ugh IRS told me to wait till 21 days before I call them. Ugh [Shirley]I filed my federal on Jan. 30th and it was received on the 31st. I have called 3x and each person has told me something different. Two said there was an error on my return and they had not sent a letter, so it was something the IRS could correct. It has been the “21 days” they talk about, but nothing. I have received my state refund. How long is this going to take??? [Lisa]
I have the education form 8863 and I filed Jan 30 and been accepted, I understand that the form did not get released until Feb 14. How much longer and are they behind. I have bills to pay and a single mother? Getting frustrated and really impatient. [Rachelle]
Our taxes were turned in Jan 30th, by tax lady. We still have not received our Federal tax return but we have our state refund. It was turned in E file. How much longer is it going to take? Everyone around us is getting theirs but ours [Dusty]
So what can you do if your tax refund is taking much longer to get than expected?
There are two main reasons that your tax refund is taking longer than expected. Either something is wrong with your tax return filing (e.g. missing information, incorrect social security numbers) or information from related sources (employer, ex-partner) do not add up (e.g. same dependents claimed in multiple tax returns). So here are a few things you can do to try and figure out why your tax refund is so taking so long to get to you.
- Check the IRS tax tool, where’s my refund, to get the official status of your refund (see estimated IRS refund schedule). It is updated daily and provides the latest processing status of your tax refund. The IRS has announced that it expects to issue more than 90% of refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days. So even if you have submitted all your documents you probably need to wait for at least 21 to 30 days before taking on more drastic actions.
Why is my e-filed tax return in “Pending” status and the IRS has no record of my tax return? TurboTax experts say that after e-filing, your federal return may sit in “Pending” status 24-48 hours before its status changes. If you contact the IRS or try to look up your return or refund status on their site while your return is in “Pending” status, don’t be alarmed if they tell you they have no record of your return. This is normal; once the IRS acknowledges your return, they will update your status to “Accepted” or “Rejected.”
Here is a way to get a real IRS person according to Emma”
- Dial 800-829-1040 – if they say they have high volume calls hang up, you’re wasting your time, call again until it doesn’t say high volume.
- Then dial 1- for English or 2 for Spanish.
- Then listen to the options and dial 2 then 1 then 4, then 2 again, until it finally asks for your social… they will try to trick you after that, but don’t dial anything it will take you to an operator. it’s a process but you’ll get to someone as long as you DO NOT say you have questions about your refund, cause then it will tell you to go online. make sure your cell is charge when you call cause you can wait up till an hour. Good luck people, and hope we all get our refund. Heck, we worked for it!!! =)
Update: The IRS has said most taxpayers are filing their returns electronically and choosing direct deposit for their refunds. The average refund is worth around $3,000, with more than 96 percent of all refunds have been paid through direct deposit. One thing that could be causing people to experience delays in getting their refunds, according to the IRS, is returns that are not accurately completed. So to ensure you get your refund ensure your return is as accurate as possible.
- Review your tax return and make sure there no obvious mistakes like missing names/SSN or forgetting to sign your tax return. You can resubmit an amended tax return entering the changes and explaining why you need to amend your original tax return. You don’t have to redo your entire return, either. Just show the necessary changes and adjust your tax liability accordingly. You usually do not need to file an amended return because you forgot to include tax forms such as W-2s or 1099 forms. The IRS normally will send a separate request asking for those documents.
- Get online help from various articles on people seeing delays with their refunds. On one of my articles covering the 2015 refund schedule I got nearly 1000 comments, with the following useful real life tips you won’t find elsewhere:
New Obamacare forms for tax year 2015 causing a lot of delays : I (Jeff) filed Jan 20…accepted Jan 21. I received a letter about affordable care act on Feb 10 requesting a new 1095. Sent them the forms same day. I called them a week later and nobody would talk to me until we waited the 4-6 weeks as stated on the letter. Called 4 weeks later and they confirmed that they accepted the forms and updated affordable care act on my return and should receive a return within 7days. On day 7 march 16, I received a letter stating more info was needed. I finally spoke with someone who was willing to share info at the IRS. Because I lost my job and income was cut in half between 2013-2014, I was considered highly likely someone trying to commit fraud. They said I can’t get any info until 45 days after my income verification letter which is April 30.
If you have debt or penalties from the prior year, you may see a long delay in your refund. Jessica filed her taxes and they were accepted on 1/22/2015. After the 21 days past [Jessica] contacted the IRS who advised there was a hold on my taxes but they couldn’t tell me what for. At this time I had error code 570 on my tax transcript. The said they had to send a referral off to have someone look at my taxes to see what was wrong…i had to give them 30 days to review my info. After the 30 day time frame I called the IRS back the agent advised no one had reviewed my tax info there for they had to send it back off and I had to wait another 30 days for them to review it. A couple of weeks after the 2nd phone call to the IRS i got another code on my transcript of 896 Refund applied to non-IRS debt with my full refund amount to the side of it…I called the IRS back to see what the code was …the agent advised my refund was sent over to the Department of the Treasury so they could pull whatever amount i owed out (witch turns out was the OBAMA fee for not having Ins. last year even through the Irs agent I spoke with advised it was not). The IRS agent advised that from looking at my transcript it seemed like they were taking my full refund even through I do not owe anything to them. A few days later i checked my transcript…there was a new code of 892 Correction to interest credit transferred out. Now I am still waiting for my refund and cant call the IRS back until 4/27.
Contact a Tax Advocate per Renee’s advice: ” Hope this helps. I filed via Turbo Tax and was accepted Feb 19th and on the 20th I received an Auto call stating my Healthcare.gov was off and to wait for the paper. My WMR status went into “Your refund is still processing” stage after March 6th
I called Healthcare.gov and was told that my health insurance was only off by $1 so I didn’t have to amend my taxes.
March 16th I contact the Tax Advocate and she was able to look deeper because my 2014 Transcripts show N/A as if I never filed
The Tax Advocate said that IRS did not accept my Taxes until March 4th and since the Healthcare.gov screwed up.. Everyone has to count 40 days from the time it was accepted. Although my healthcare form was only for a $1 difference, there were many that were a lot larger than $1
So, It looks like I have to count 40 Days from the REAL IRS Acceptance Date of March 4th.. This is 13 days after Turbo Tax stated that my taxes were accepted.
I don’t think this is Turbo Taxes fault. It’s not Obama’s fault either. I’m grateful to pay $131 for Premium Insurance instead of the $489 monthly premium that was increasing through BCBS.. I even have the same Account with Blue Cross…
So.. there you have it.. if it was accepted March 1st.. Count 13 days.. That’s when its really accepted.. then count 40 additional days before your refund or taxes move forward
hope this helps”
- If you claim certain credits like the Earned Income Credit or Education credits in your tax return, the IRS announced that refunds these returns generate may take longer. So expect your refund to take longer in this case – possibly into April, even if you filed early.
- Hire an accountant or tax services firm to follow up this issue on your behalf particularly if you have a tax obligation to the IRS. But be warned, these are not the cheapest options and if you refund is less than $1,000 it may not be worth the cost.
- Calling the IRS is an option, though getting through to someone is a challenge. You can go the IRS resources page to get the latest contact IRS numbers/locations.
I know it can be really frustrating to see ongoing delays in getting your tax refund. My answer is be patient, look into the above steps and contact a professional if you get nowhere with the IRS.