More people experiencing tax refund delays

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 By

A mailbox

More people are experiencing tax refund delays, but they will show up. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Earlier this year, the IRS said that early tax filers may experience refund delays because of new protocols being put in place to fight identity theft. However, more people can expect their refund to be delayed this year.

Where is my refund?

The IRS manages to do a pretty good job of getting people their refunds, though glitches and delays do occur. For instance, in 2011, the IRS had to program its computers to handle returns for people who had claimed the First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit, according to the New York Times, resulting in a number of people who claimed that credit having to wait on their refund. A man profiled in the Times last year had to wait 145 days for his refund.

Earlier this year, the IRS reported that early tax filers would have to wait a little longer for their refunds, but anyone who filed after Jan. 26 wouldn’t have to worry about it. The agency, according to MSNBC, has been implementing new anti-identity theft measures which were going to make things slow at first. However, according to USA Today, people who filed after that date have had their refunds delayed as well.

Up to an extra week

Typically, according to USA Today, people who file electronically have to wait anywhere from seven to 14 days before they got their refund, usually via direct deposit into their bank account. However, H&R Block preparers have been noticing that this year, people who e-file are waiting a bit longer, with 10 to 21 days being the usual range. Jackson Hewitt preparers have noted similarly that refunds are taking 15 to 21 days to arrive.

[Many people use their refunds as payday installment loans from themselves]

The reason, according to the Sun-Sentinel, is that they are still dealing with the updates to their system and there is a bit of a backlog in returns and refunds from early filers that were delayed at the start of tax season.

Many people may have noticed recently that the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website wasn’t working. The agency had some technical issues with it, but it’s been rectified.

IRS trying to keep up

Interested people can check the “Where’s My Refund?” page and look up the status of their refund, now that it is working again.

The IRS hasn’t exactly been sitting on their hands, either. Since the start of tax season, according to USA Today, the agency has sent out 34.8 million refunds as of Feb. 16, totaling about $110.9 billion. The average refund this year has been $3,183. That said, it’s a bit slower than the same period last year, then the IRS had issued 36.1 million refunds worth $115.3 billion.

Sources

USA Today

Sun Sentinel

New York Times

MSNBC: http://lifeinc.today.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/17/10428874-irs-faces-surge-in-identity-theft-tax-fraud?chromedomain=usnews

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