Tax refund delays reported, some of the reasons this may be happening

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INDIANAPOLIS – A little over a month has passed since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) began processing tax returns, but delays are already being reported by many who have filed their taxes.

Between processing a third round of stimulus payments, recent changes in tax laws and arrears due to the pandemic, many people are waiting weeks for an update on the status of their tax refunds.

“I filed on February 12 and, you know, I got accepted a few days later,” said Monique Ray, who lives in Indianapolis.

Ray said she had confirmed by the IRS ‘ Where is my refund tool that his payment had been accepted, and soon after, the status bars on the website were gone.

“I received a message on the Where’s My Refund site saying ‘your refund is still being processed and a date will be given when it becomes available,” “she explained. “He still says it to this day.”

Last year, Ray lost his son just 51 days after he was born. In addition to the financial challenges she faced after her death, she said she recently lost her job.

Ray said she couldn’t reach anyone at the IRS to find out how long it would take before she could get the money she’s worked for all year.

“It’s really hard, you know, trying to catch up,” she said.

The IRS said it faces high demand for appeals with millions of people calling so far this tax season. They have about 13,760 telephone assistants, of which about 3,800 were hired this filing season alone.

According to the IRS, “a typical trouble-free tax refund is issued within 21 days or less.”

“It’s been over 21 days – past 21 days,” Ray said.

The IRS told FOX59, “If there is an issue with a tax return that requires additional review, it may add time for some taxpayers, but it varies depending on the issue. There are many factors that can affect the timing of the repayment. “

Experts say several other factors contribute to delays in tax refunds.

The IRS is working on a backlog of 2019 tax returns submitted last year, while continuing to work on the impacts of COVID-19, which has created staff shortages and closures.

“Everything I hear and read in the IRS is really only about one problem, which is that they’re late,” said CPA John Helms, president of JR Helms and Associates.

“They’re still trying to catch up with last winter and summer and early spring when they were closed like a lot of businesses.”

Dozens of Hoosiers told FOX59 that they had filed their tax returns and received a notification that they had been accepted, but were still seeing delays exceeding 21 days.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with current electronic filings. It’s in the computer system, ”Helms said. “Looks like the computer should delete these checks, but they’re just way overdue.”

Once a tax return is filed and accepted by the IRS, there isn’t much a person can do other than wait and watch the IRS website for the status of their tax return. refund.

“If it’s filed electronically once it’s accepted, unfortunately if you’ve paid someone to prepare and file your return electronically, she doesn’t have access to it at this point,” Helms explained. .

He said there were no back door tax advisers to get answers about a person’s tax refund status and it might be difficult to get to the IRS through long delays. waiting.

“It’s a bad situation, but unfortunately we are all caught in this situation right now.”

To add even more to the IRS base, it is currently working to process a third round of stimulus payments and deal with recent changes in tax laws.

“IRS employees continue to work hard to provide tax refunds as quickly as possible while delivering critical economic impact payments to taxpayers in record time,” the IRS said.

Helms said information is changing rapidly regarding what people need to know when filing their taxes this season.

“If it concerns the stimulus bill, credits, rebates, this information changes daily,” he shared. “We can give you an answer today, and it might not be the same answer in two weeks, or even tomorrow.”

With the tax filing deadline extended to mid-May, Helms says he doesn’t think it will extend wait times for refunds.

“I don’t see that it will help them, but I don’t think it will prolong them,” Helms said.

“The deposit will go down over the next three or four weeks, obviously this is only a one month extension, but a lot of people will take advantage,” he said, noting that this should reduce the volume facing the IRS.

Some wonder if processing times could increase if people who have already filed their tax returns have to submit amended tax returns following recent changes, such as tax breaks.

“The IRS came out and said don’t change your tax returns,” Helms said.

He said people who have already filed and been taxed on unemployment are advised not to file an amended return.

Helms said, “They haven’t explained if they don’t want to file one yet or if they don’t file one at all because the IRS thinks they’ll fix it.”

IRS Response

FOX59 has contacted the IRS for a statement on delayed tax returns and what people need to know. The IRS issued the following statement:

“IRS employees continue to work hard to provide timely tax refunds while delivering critical economic impact payments to taxpayers in record time. It’s an unprecedented time for the IRS given the pandemic, new tax laws and three rounds of stimulus payments. This scenario takes place at a time when the IRS has fewer resources and staff than ten years ago.

The IRS knows this is a dire time for taxpayers and we continue to do all we can to help. We continue to deliver tax refunds to people as quickly as possible, with an average of over a million refunds issued to taxpayers across the country every day.

The IRS is assuming more responsibility at a time when its budget and staff have been severely reduced over the past decade. As the Congressional Budget Office and others have noted, the IRS’s budget and staff are down about 20% – meaning the IRS has 20,000 fewer people available to help on the tax season and other matters.

Tax Refunds: A typical problem-free tax refund is issued within 21 days or less. Typically, nine out of 10 refunds filed electronically are made within this time frame. Until March 5, the IRS issued 36 million refunds after the start of the tax season on February 12.

If there is an issue with a tax return that requires additional review, it may add time for some taxpayers, but it varies depending on the issue. There are many factors that can affect the timing of the repayment. Common mistakes that the IRS sees this filing season include people not reporting their economic impact payments accurately on the payback repayment line of credit. Tax returns that contain error, incomplete information, or those affected by identity theft or fraud may take longer to process. If more information is needed to process the return, the IRS will send the taxpayer a letter with a request for information.

Online Tools Help Avoid Delays: We urge people to visit IRS.gov and use tools like “Where’s My Refund” and “Get My Payment” for quick assistance. Electronic deposit by direct deposit is the fastest way to receive a refund; it is even more important during the pandemic to avoid filing a paper report, if possible.

We are still working on the impacts of COVID-19, which has created staff shortages and closures. For example, our phone lines continue to be very busy with high call demand with millions of people calling so far this tax season. We currently have approximately 13,760 telephone assistants, of which approximately 3,800 have been hired this filing season. We hope to integrate 1,000 additional telephone assistants with funding associated with the American Rescue Plan. “



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