Longer Wait for Tax Refunds?


You might have to wait longer for your tax refunds this year. This is because the IRS is beefing up its security measures to detect fraud and the downside of it is a delay in refunds to genuine filers. According to an enrolled agent in H&R Block, Diana Jacobsen, “(The IRS has) modernized e-file. So they are accepting the returns much quicker, but now once it gets there, they are putting these protections and screening for fraud.”

If you wish to obtain your refund in the shortest amount of time, the best way is to e-file your tax return. You may get your refund sometimes in just 10 days. According to the IRS website, 90% of tax filers obtain their refunds in 21 days or less, if their returns are filed correctly.

According to official figures, as at February 21 this year, the IRS has issued some 45.2 million tax refunds but at the same time, it has received about 1.8 million more returns via e-file. This indicates a slower rate of refunds which is making more taxpayers frustrated with the IRS. The Wall Street Journal has even reported that the delays have resulted in frustrated taxpayers making threats or damaging property. Some have also expressed their frustrations over the social media.

Most lower to middle income earners need their refunds to pay bills or buy necessities. Jacobsen reports, “We will have people who file on the same day, and one gets their refund, and the other one hasn’t gotten one yet. It’s just that something has triggered [the return] for fraud.” Jacobsen also advises taxpayers to visit the IRS website (www.irs.gov) to get an idea of when they can expect their refunds, so that even if they are delayed, they can expect it at a certain time.

The IRS says that many factors come into play that determine the speed of a refund but they do not specify what these factors are.

One factor that may complicate your tax refund is identity theft. If you believe somebody is trying to steal your identity, you should contact the IRS immediately. Jacobsen said, “The IRS will assign a four-digit PIN number so that you can use that on your tax return. It makes sure someone can’t steal your refund.”


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Darrin Mish, Tampa Tax Attorney, The Law Offices of Darrin Mish, P.A. | Attorney Advertising

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