Did the IRS send your tax refund yet? How to track when your money will arrive

Provided by CNET

Tax refund proving elusive? There may be a reason for that. We’ll show you two ways to try to hunt it down.

The status of your  tax return may be more important this year than ever. It’s certainly more confusing. For example, the IRS may owe you a plus-up payment if it processes your taxes and finds you didn’t get as much money in this round of stimulus checks as you should calculate your stimulus total. In addition, any missing stimulus money left from the first two checks will arrive bundled with your tax refund.

And since stimulus check delivery is the IRS priority, there could be a delay in processing tax returns, calculating plus-up payments and sending your tax refund. Even if you don’t get a refund, we’ll show you how to use the IRS tax refund tracker to see if your tax return has been processed. Note the new Tax Day deadline of May 17. Also, if you paid taxes on unemployment benefits, the IRS will start refunding that money to eligible recipients in May.

We’ve listed some potential dates in the chart below for how long it could take to get your refund typically. We suggest filing your tax return online if you still need to submit it — the IRS recommends you avoid sending in a paper return this year. We also recommend setting up direct deposit to get your refund quicker. Here’s what we know so far about a potential fourth stimulus check, how you can get more money with a child tax credit, who needs to file an amended tax form, and seven tax breaks.

You need several things on hand to track the status of your tax refund: your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status — for example, single, married or head of household — and your exact refund amount in whole dollars, which can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it s been at least hours before you try tracking your refund.

Using the IRS tool Where s My Refund, enter your Social Security number or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount, then press Send. If you entered your information correctly, you’ll be taken to a page that shows the status of your refund. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you’ll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

There’s also a mobile app, called IRSGO, that checks your tax refund status. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight each day, so if you don’t see a status change after hours or more, check back the next day.

Both the IRS tools online and mobile will show you one of three messages to explain your tax return status.

Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you’re owed one. Sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check to your mailbox. Here s how to change your address if you moved.

The IRS says it issues most tax refunds within days, but many people typically get their refunds much sooner. However, this year, the IRS is reportedly facing delays complicated by the fact that it’s sending out the stimulus checks. If there are any errors, it might take the agency longer to process and issue your tax refund.

The date you get your tax refund also depends on how you filed your return. For example, with refunds going into your bank account via direct deposit, it could take an additional five days for your bank to post it to your account. This means if it took the IRS the full days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you may be waiting a total of days to get your money. 

If you submit your tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy. Here are some possible dates when you could receive your refund, depending on when you filed. 

While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited at this time, so you may wait on hold for a while to speak to a representative. Also, the IRS says you should only call if it’s been more than 21 days since you filed your taxes online or if the Where’s My Refund tool tells you to contact the IRS.

Expecting another refund after the IRS calculates the $10,200 unemployment tax break? You might want to amend your return to maximize other credits

The Internal Revenue Service says it will automatically adjust tax returns and issue extra refunds for people who already filed their taxes before a valuable jobless benefit tax break came along in March.

The IRS says it doesn’t require taxpayers to send in amended returns under the circumstances. Those payments will start going out in May and taxpayers could pocket $, due to the recalculations, according to some estimates.

But before sitting back and letting the IRS do the work, experts say some people should at least consider filing an amended return — that way, they can bring in more money they’ve suddenly become eligible for through the readjustment.

“It’s definitely worth just double checking,” said Christine Speidel, a professor and director of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law’s Federal Tax Clinic. In certain cases, some people could hypothetically rake in around $2,000, to $3,000, extra, based on Speidel’s calculations.

Jobless benefits are taxable income, but the American Rescue Plan contained a provision saying the feds would not assess income tax on the first $10,200, a person received in jobless benefits. The income-tax exclusion is $20,400, for a married-couple filing jointly.

Around the time President Joe Biden signed the plan, millions of households already submitted returns, IRS statistics show.

Though the IRS said it would automatically adjust returns based on the exclusion, it said it would not tweak the returns to apply for new tax credits if the underlying return didn’t already seek those credits.

Anyone who wants to access those credits based on their newly-reduced adjusted gross income will have to file an amended income tax return, the federal tax collection agency said.

Why Tax Refunds Are Taking Longer Than Usual

Tax refunds typically arrive within days of when you file your individual tax return. One reason it may take longer: if you made a mistake calculating your recovery rebate credit.

Wondering where your tax refund is? In its Covid- operations update, the Internal Revenue Service has added an explanation for why in many cases it’s taking longer than the typical days to process tax refunds for individual taxpayers. We’re talking about tax returns filed for the tax year during the tax season that opened in February and runs through May . 

May ? That’s right. individual tax returns are due on Monday, May 17 —instead of the typical April 15th due date. The delayed due date is because of the many ways the coronavirus pandemic has upended people’s lives and their tax pictures. Note: Quarterly estimated taxes for the tax year are still due on April 15th. 

So why are refunds taking longer than usual? For one thing, the IRS is still wading through the backlog of prior year tax returns. As of March 2021, there were over six million individual tax returns received prior to the current year pipeline.

There are two other main reasons returns are stuck in the unprocessed pile. For taxpayers who used their income to figure the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, an IRS employee has to validate the return. The second reason is many returns are requiring a correction to the Recovery Rebate Credit amount claimed on the return. 

Neither of these two cases requires the IRS to correspond with taxpayers, but the “special handling” means that it’s taking the IRS more than days to issue any related refund. If a correction is made on the return, the IRS will send an explanation letter.

The IRS has a whole Q&A page set up for questions related to Recovery Rebate Credit corrections after tax returns are filed. Taxpayers who were eligible but didn’t get the Round 1 or Round 2 stimulus payments from the March CARES Act and the year-end spending package could claim those payments on their tax return as a recovery rebate credit. 

If you were eligible for the recovery rebate credit but didn’t claim it, you need to file an amended return. If you entered an incorrect amount for the credit on your return, you should NOT file an amended return, the IRS says. The IRS will calculate the correct amount, make the correction to your tax return, and continue processing it. Some of the reasons the IRS is changing credit amounts include: the taxpayer was claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s return, there was an issue with Social Security numbers or taxpayer identification numbers, a child exceeds the age limit, or your adjusted gross income was too high.

For the quickest refund, e-file your return and choose direct deposit. To check the status of your refund, use the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool.