Reports continue to come in from around the country about federal tax refunds being slow in arriving. Personally, I’ve had a few taxpayers wonder why they are waiting longer than normal for their refunds, although (fortunately) not too many.
The primary reason is the IRS instituted several safeguards in their processing system to prevent tax fraud. These safeguards have slowed things down and caused more returns to be reviewed before a refund is issued.
How long are we talking? I’ve told people that refunds normally arrive in about 10 – 15 days, but this year it may be as long as 3 weeks (one client had to wait this long). All of these returns were e-filed and I can’t figure out why certain clients are taking longer for their refunds and the IRS (of course) won’t tell what they are looking for with their new safeguards.
Best advice – hang in there and check on www.irs.gov and click on ‘Where’s my Refund’ for updates. You will need the lead SSN (if you’re filing a return with 2 SSNs), your filing status, and the whole dollar amount of your refund. Earlier this year there were a few problems with this feature on their site but those seem to have been taken care of as I’ve had only a few issues over the last few weeks (opposed to quite a few in January & early February).
Through the 16th of February, the IRS reported it had processed approximately 34.8 million tax returns (down from the 36.1 million in mid-February 2011). That is a staggering number of returns when you think about it.
Also, a reminder – the IRS never, never, never tries to get in touch with you via e-mail. They always communicate via phone, mail or in person. Any attempt by the ‘IRS” to get info from you via email is fraudulent and you should delete it right away! Don’t be a victim of tax fraud or identity theft this way.
If you have any thoughts or questions, or need help with your 2011 tax returns, please let me know.
Thomas C. Hodge
The Hodge Group