We would like to extend our sincere thanks to each of you who decided to use Hughes Szuberla CPAs to prepare and file your taxes this last filing season! It’s our pleasure to serve you each year!
Now that the initial tax filing deadline has passed, we would like to introduce our first newsletter to you. Our newsletters are intended to inform and educate you with regard to various questions we field throughout the year, while avoiding unnecessary details. In short, we’ll do our best to get right to the point. We expect to share a new one with you about every six weeks. Please feel free to forward them to friends and colleagues as you see fit.
Our inaugural newsletter focusses on the timely receipt of tax refunds and what to do if yours seems to be delayed:
Where’s My Refund?
Now that many of your returns have been filed, the most common question we are getting at this time is “Where’s My Refund!?”
The IRS’ Where’s My Refund? tool gives taxpayers online access to their tax return and refund status anytime. To use it, you simply need internet access and three pieces of information:
- Social Security number
- Filing status (married, single, etc.)
- The exact whole dollar amount of their refund
Taxpayers can start checking on the status of their return within 24 hours after the IRS received their e-filed return, or four weeks after they mail a paper return. Generally, the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days if the return was e-filed and 6 weeks for returns that were paper filed, but some may take longer.
Many states have similar websites to check the status of refunds and if you need help finding these sites please contact us. For state purposes, refunds typically take 3-5 weeks but keep in mind that there are a few states that are taking up to 90 days.
“Where’s My Refund says that my return is processing…”
This typically occurs if your return is under manual review, usually due to the size of the refund, or if you have been issued an identity verification letter from the IRS which has become progressively more common as criminals have increased their efforts to use stolen taxpayer information in order to obtain fraudulent refunds. The first thing you should do if the IRS website says your return is still processing is check your mail at the address that was listed on your tax return. You likely have received a letter from the IRS explaining the delay and providing further instructions.
The most common delay of refunds this year has related to the identity verification letters. The IRS is monitoring tax returns for signs of fraudulent activity in greater numbers this year and we expect this trend to continue. When the IRS suspects a return is fraudulent, the agency will request identity verification from the person whose name and address is listed on the return.
The IRS offers only two ways to verify your identity:
- Online at the IRS Identity Verification Service website
- By phone at the toll-free number listed on your 5071C Letter
Only those who receive a 5071C Letter should use the verification system. The letters are sent to you via U.S. mail. They are never emailed, and the IRS does not initiate verification requests by phone.
Once the identity is verified, the taxpayers can confirm whether or not they filed the return in question. If they did not file the return, the IRS can take steps at that time to provide assistance. If they did file the return, it will take approximately six weeks to process it and issue a refund.
When verifying their identity, taxpayers should have available their prior year tax return and their current year tax return, if they filed one, including supporting documents, such as Forms W-2 and 1099 and Schedules A and C.
If you realize after the return is filed that your address is incorrect please contact me to help resolve the issue. Incorrect addresses can cause delays if you were issued an identity verification letter or some other type of notice.
Thanks and we look forward to serving you again in the future!