Let’s face it. An income tax refund is a nice relief. Nice enough to let out a secret “whew” when a refund shows up on the bottom of your tax return.
This tax season is a little more chaotic than most. It has started late with the IRS not even ready to process returns until Jan 30 2013. It continues as the IRS will not be accepting certain returns (such as those claiming education credits) until at least mid-February. To add to the murky calendar, the IRS has also implemented new fraud prevention processes which promise to cause further delays.
One thing stands out this year so far: The IRS has rolled out their new and upgraded “Where’s My Refund?” site.
This year the IRS is making no promises of a regular cycle of refund processing. Tax practitioners have been advised to let clients know that their refund should arrive within 21 days. That’s a far cry from the refund chart we had last year that generally allowed us to predict when a client’s tax refund would arrive (usually within 7-10 days).
That makes the new IRS “Where’s My Refund” site more attractive.
The site now has three powerful components. First, it will acknowledge that your return has actually been received. The site indicates that about 24 hours after you file, it can show that your return has been received. Actually, so far my clients’ returns are showing up in as little as a few hours after they have been transmitted to the IRS.
Second, the site has a feature that will tell you not only that the return is still processing, but it will alert you when there is a problem with your return or if the IRS needs more information from you to continue processing your tax return.
Once the return has finished processing and is ready for a refund, the site will show that your refund has been approved. At this point the IRS will give you the date that your refund will be issued. According to the IRS, this will be an exact date, not an estimate, and will be personal to your income tax return.
To use the program, you will need to have your 2013 [updated from 2012 in the original post] tax return in front of you – you’ll be asked for several pieces of information from the return.
Last year more than 90% of tax refunds were issued in less than 21 days after filing. Despite all the late starts, this year will likely have about the same results.
You can visit the “Where’s My Refund?” site at http://www.irs.gov/Refunds/ . Remember to have your tax return in front of you.
I wish you many happy refunds!