All About Your Delayed Tax Refund

Many, if not most, taxpayers who file their annual tax returns with the assistance of Liberty Tax Service can look forward to their tax refunds. In fact, an estimated 80% of taxpayers get their money back from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year, with the average individual refund amounting to $2,763 in 2017.  

But there are cases when the tax refunds are delayed. In this case, many taxpayers will understandably get worried because it may mean that their tax returns have been flagged for audit. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case since there are numerous reasons behind the delay.  

Refund Timeline

According to IRS rules, the refunds for returns filed electronically (i.e., online) will be issued within three weeks – or 21 days – after receipt. In the case of paper returns, or returns that have been filed in the traditional manner, the refunds will take significantly longer. This is because the turnaround time ranges between six and eight weeks for these refunds.  

So, if you haven’t received your refunds within 21 days if you filed online, then you shouldn’t be worried about tax audits yet. Even when it’s been 21 days and your cash hasn’t shown up yet, you are well-advised to put yourself in the IRS agents’ shoes and think of the possible reasons for delay like – and none of them are related to audits:

  • Clerical errors in your return, such as incorrect social security number or filing status, may mean having it rejected outright, not audited
  • Math errors in your return may also delay its processing if the tax agent reconcile these mistakes first to arrive at an accurate refund amount

The IRS may also be just swamped with tax returns and, thus, cannot work as fast as taxpayers expected. You can file your tax returns early – or before the deadline – so your return can be processed earlier, too, hopefully.  

Refund Follow-up

Now if you’re still worried about your delayed tax refund, you have a few steps available to follow up on its status. First, you can log into the IRS official website and enter the required information on its “Where’s My Refund” page. You have to input your filing status, social security number, and amount of refund expected to get the information.  

Let’s say that 21 days have elapsed since your electronic filing and your refund check isn’t still in your hand. You’re also getting the standard replies – your return was received and your refund is being processed – and you can’t have these either.  

You can call the IRS office directly and talk to a live representative to inquire about your refund status. You may be provided with a more detailed information but be prepared for a long wait, no thanks to the thousands of other taxpayers on the same mission.  

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