In years past, when you filed your tax return, you were able to go to www.irs.gov, and click on a link called “Where’s My Refund?” Where’s My Refund, would give you an estimated date of when you would receive your refund. Today the Internal Revenue Service has announced that they have made changes to this program.
Where’s My Refund? will have a new look for 2013. Now this tool will include a “tracker” that will display the progress of your return through three stages:
1. Return Received
2. Return Approved
3. Refund Sent
The IRS claims that a taxpayer will get “personalized refund information,” based on the process of your return. The IRS points out that “the tool will provide an actual refund date,” this is unlike the old tool which just told you an estimated refund date. In addition, the IRS will make your return status available within 24 hours of the return being accepted if e-filed, and received if you have paper file. The IRS points out that they issue “9 out of 10” refunds within 21 days.
Another change that the IRS has made is to Publication 2043. In this publication there was something called a “Refund Cycle Chart.” From this chart professionals could check the IRS’s drain time for e-filed returns. The drain cycle would then tell a taxpayer about when the refund should be directly deposited or a paper check would be mailed. The IRS has “re-purposed” the chart as IRS Refund Information Guide. So, basically, the IRS isn’t telling anyone when refunds will be issued.
This sound bad, but there is something behind this change; identity theft has become rampant at the IRS. People would e-file their income tax returns, just to find out that their return had already been filed. Thieves would steal taxpayer’s Social Security Numbers and file a fraudulent tax return; often with inflated refunds. The problem has gotten so bad that the IRS will hold large refunds for over six months in order to verify that the return was indeed correct.
The new Where’s My Refund tool is going to upset a lot of people and practitioners; however there is a reason behind the change.
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If you have any questions you can email Craig W. Smalley, E.A..