Getting an Income Tax Refund

If you haven’t already completed and filed your income taxes, you are getting items together to do so.  You anticipate a refund, so why not get your taxes done and get the refund? 

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible a taxpayer’s refund may take longer. Several factors can affect the timing of a taxpayer’s refund after the IRS receives their tax return. Here are a few things taxpayers should keep in mind if they are waiting on their refund but hear or see on social media that other taxpayers have already received theirs.

  • The IRS and its partners in the tax industry continue to strengthen security reviews. This helps protect against identity theft and refund fraud. This means some tax returns need additional review, taking longer to process them.
  • It can take longer for the IRS to process a tax return that has errors. Therefore, taxpayers should consider filing their return electronically. The e-file software walks the taxpayer through the steps of filling out the return and does all the math.
  • E-file software can also help make sure a tax return is complete. This is important because it can also take longer to process an incomplete return. The IRS contacts a taxpayer by mail when more info is needed to process the return.
  • By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people claiming the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit before mid-February. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund. This includes the portion of the refund not associated with EITC or ACTC.
  • It can take banks or other financial institutions time to post the refund to the taxpayer’s account. It can take even longer for a taxpayer to receive their refund check by mail.
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Kay Sowa

About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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