The recent fiscal cliff debate in Congress has directly impacted the processing of tax returns this year. Because Congress went over the cliff on January 1, it triggered automatic tax hikes and spending cuts for a brief period of time until Congress came to resolutions. This lead to computer reprogramming and forms and instruction changes – which couldn't be done until the fiscal cliff was resolved.
The IRS began processing tax returns for individuals on January 30th. Most businesses and complicated returns which include credits, etc, will not be ready for processing yet, as the IRS is still readying those forms.
If you are one of the lucky ones who was able to submit a return, and you are owed a refund, you might be curious as to when it will be received. The IRS has stayed up-to-date with electronic technology by creating applications by which taxpayers can check their refund status.
On their website, IRS.gov, you can click on the “Where's My Refund” button and enter in the pertinent information to find out about your refund. There is also an IRS2Go App for phones that performs the same function.
However, this past Thursday, the IRS issued a bulletin describing a substantial traffic increase in the use of these features and urged patience and diligence:
“Due to the large number of inquiries and to avoid service disruptions, the IRS strongly urges taxpayers to only check on their refunds once a day. IRS systems are only updated once a day, usually overnight, and the same information is available whether on the Internet, IRS2go smartphone app or on IRS toll-free lines. While "Where's My Refund?" is updated nightly, your account will not change that frequently.
The IRS is seeing a good start to the filing season, and tax refunds are being issued timely. Nine out of 10 taxpayers typically receive refunds in less than 21 days when they use e-file with direct deposit.
The IRS expects to see the number of tax returns — and related refund inquiries — steadily increase around the President's Day holiday week.
Here are some tips to help taxpayers with their refund questions:
Have the right tax information ready before using any of the IRS refund tools. This includes Social Security number, filing status and refund amount.
You don't need to check “Where's My Refund?” more than once a day as your information will not change.
To avoid system delays, the best time to check on refunds is evening and weekends.
There is no need to call the IRS about your refund; the telephone service has the same information that is available on “Where’s My Refund?”.
So if you are expecting a refund, go ahead and file your taxes as soon as you are able to do so. You should plan on a 10-day to three week time frame for your money. If you will be filing later in the season, you may find that you will have a longer wait time.
All 2012 taxes must be filed by April 15, 2013