Where is My Refund 2014? Don’t Ask This!

January 18th, 2014 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Woman in home office with computer smiling

Everyone needs money, that’s a fact.  Some people manage their money better than others…another fact, one which may be harder to swallow.  What I want to do here is try and explain why, if you’re desperate about receiving your IRS refund, something is wrong.

It’s January, which means the question Where is my refund? for 2014 is beginning to surface.  Lots of anxious taxpayers file taxes even before the IRS is ready to accept tax returns.  Why?  Because they are desperate to get refunds ASAP.  Why?  Here’s the problem.  Its’ most often because of money-management issues.  Let’s break it down and see how we can tackle the issues and manage money a little more wisely.

I’m Poor- That IRS Refund Will Really Help Me Out!

If you are living on minimum wage, or just getting by and you’ve already tweaked your household budget so much you’re living a Spartan existence, then yes, an IRS refund check of several hundred dollars means a lot to you.  But did you know you could have had that money months ago?  You could have had that money all along?  Why?  Because it’s actually your money!  You loaned it to the IRS for the year, so they could pay their bills.

Yes, you in your near-poverty existence, loaned the IRS money.  Doesn’t that sound ridiculous.  But by having too much taken out of your paycheck each month, that’s what you’re doing.  Your refund is just them returning that money, because too much was sent to them in the first place.

If your IRS Refund is big, ADJUST YOUR W4!

Get a fresh copy of the W4 form and resubmit it to your boss and stop having too much money taken out of your paychecks.  You won’t have to be desperately asking Where’s my refund?  in 2014 because you’ll already have what was yours in the first place.  Stop loaning your hard-earned money to the IRS (interest free!) and keep it in your paycheck.  Your IRS refund isn’t your ticket out of poverty, it’s just the IRS’s way of taking advantage of people who haven’t learned about withholding and the W4 yet.  Adjust your W4 and yoru employer won’t take so much out of your paycheck.  Yes, it means your IRS refund will be smaller for tax year 2014 but it also means you’ll have more of your own money in your pocket as soon as you earn it.

Why the IRS Refund Calendar is Obsolete for 2014

January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Calendar

The IRS Refund Calendar for 2014 starts now… Tax prep companies are now accepting tax returns, and the IRS will start accepting them on January 31.  If you get started now, you can have your IRS refund in February, if all goes well.  What can delay your refund?  Actually, lots of things.  Here’s a list of what can delay processing of your return, which makes the idea of a Refund Calendar a bit useless…

Top Five Things That Make the IRS Refund Calendar Obsolete in 2014

  1. You Forgot Some Small Detail on Your Return.  Maybe it was the Social Security number of a dependent, maybe it was the EIN of an employer.
  2. You Forgot to Attach or Include Something.  This could be a W2 you included on your tax return but forgot to attach to the file when you submitted your e-file return, or forgot to put in the envelope when you snail-mailed your return.
  3. Typos.  All time biggest reason the IRS may take longer to process your tax return.  A typo of just one number could mean a Social Security number doesn’t match up, a name is misspelled, meaning it’s unmatchable to other information included on your return.
  4. Math.  You added some numbers wrong, or incorrectly calculated a percentage.  That means things won’t add up, literally, when the IRS tries to process, meaning delays.
  5. A name is wrong.  Because of new anti-fraud measures implemented by the IRS, anything fishy with a name or the way a name is spelled will cause your return to be further scrutinized, therefore delayed.

See now why the idea of an IRS Refund Calendar is obsolete nowadays?   These things may seem trivial and small, but they will trip the system and your return will get pulled.  See how easy it is to make a mistake?  For the most efficient way to file your tax return and check for errors, use tax preparation software.  The software checks your math, checks for spelling mismatches and typos, as well a pretty much taking all the work out of filing your federal income tax return!

 

IRS Refund Status 2014: Don’t Count Your Eggs…

January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Tax Time

The Holidays are over, and the new year is in full swing. Taxpayers, you know what that means!  Time to get your tax return into the IRS and if you’re due a refund, the sooner the better. The IRS will begin accepting tax returns the last day of January 2014, and it takes about 10 days to get your refund if nothing delays it.  So, the earliest you should begin checking your IRS Refund Status for 2014 is around February 10.

That little part about a 10-day turnaround time stands on very shaky grounds, actually.  The IRS doesn’t even make Refund Cycle Charts anymore, because the times vary widely.  How long before you get your IRS refund depends on totally individual factors now.  It could take 7 days or it could take 7 weeks.  The IRS is under no strictures to issue your refund quickly. And these days they take all the time in the world because they are trying to combat identity theft and tax fraud.

What Your IRS Refund Status May Mean

But don’t panic if you check your IRS Refund Status in 2014 and it continues to say in process day after day.  What’s more important is that the IRS acknowledges they received your tax return.  If you filed electronically, you should have got an email shortly after filing, let’s say within 24 hours.  It will come directly from the IRS, even if you filed through tax prep software or a walk-in tax preparation services company.  This is the first step, since if they never got your return you’ll have to find out what happened…re-open your tax software account and check to see if you really did finish and file or something went awry at the end and it failed to transmit to the IRS.

But panicking if, upon checking your IRS Refund Status for 2014 you keep seeing that it’s in process, is a bad sign.  It’s a sign that you are counting on your IRS refund for something.  That’s a mistake.  Since the IRS can’t guarantee when refunds are issued, taxpayers should not be purchasing things in hopes that their IRS refunds will come through soon to pay for things.  Similarly, don’t delay your rent payment because you’re waiting for your IRS refund to come through.  You’ll compound your problems and cause yourself to develop an ulcer.  There’s absolutely nothing you can do to make the IRS move faster in processing your return and issuing your refund faster.

Lesson learned: don’t count on your IRS refund because you can’t be sure of a date for its issue.

IRS Refund Cycle Chart 2014

December 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Tax refund sign

Relying on an IRS Refund Cycle Chart for your 2014 tax return is like hoping the weather performs in exactly the same way it did last year.  That is, there an awful lot of factors that can slow down the progress of your refund, just like there are a lot of ways the weather can change from day to day and never be the same as it was last year.  Neither your IRS refund nor the weather behave predictably.  Neither is regular and neither one can be charter, either.

Old Habits Die Hard

Perhaps you are looking for an IRS Refund Cycle Chart 2014 because that’s what you’ve always consulted when expecting your refund.  In the past this was how we all did it.  That’s all there was: a refund cycle chart that gave you a date as to when you should expect your refund.  The process was pretty routine as far as processing your tax return, so the IRS would publish the refund cycle chart for each year.  Taxpayers who had submitted tax returns used the chart religiously.  Perhaps you still crave a refund cycle chart for 2014?  Time to break the habit and get to know the new style…

The IRS Online Refund Tracker Tool

Now you log into the IRS website and retrieve data for your very own tax return.  You plug in your social security number, answer a few questions about yourself and the tax return you submitted, and voila: the tool will tell you exactly where in the pipeline your tax return is on that day.

The refund tracker tool updates every 24 hours.  Therefore, if you’ve already checked it one day, you won’t get anything new until the next day.  You also won’t get anything new by calling the IRS Refund Hotline.  All those people will tell you is what they see on the screen after essentially logging in as you.  They are unable to tell you anything more than that.

So instead of hunting down an IRS Refund Cycle Chart 2014, use the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool located on the IRS website.  Accept no substitutes- don’t give out your Social Security number to anyone else but the IRS or your identity and your IRS refund could be stolen.

IRS Refund Schedule 2014

December 22nd, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Filling tax forms 1040

Proud of yourself, eh?  You got your taxes done and now all you have to do is sit back and wait for your tax refund.  What’s that you say?  Waiting is not working out for you?  You want to know where your IRS refund might be?  Used to be taxpayers could consult the refund chart for the present year and guestimate pretty accurately when they’d get their refund.  But no longer.  The IRS will not publish an IRS Refund Schedule for 2014.  You will not find any 2014 Refund Chart anywhere on reputable websites.

Want to know why?  Because the IRS doesn’t do that anymore.  Tax returns are processed differently now, which means they travel a whole new pathway inside the IRS complex of computer processing software.  There are many divergent pathways your return could take now…because the IRS has implemented new ways of checking our tax returns for fraud.

The old way of sending your tax return to be processed simply added up the numbers and stamped it “processed”, then issued your refund.  Pretty predictable and chartable.  Yes, we could chart the progression of our tax returns, right down to the day on which our IRS refunds would be issued.  But like I said, this is no longer the case.

Now, there are million more steps along the way to completion.  The IRS Refund Schedule 2014 involves a lot more work before you get your refund.  In fact, the schedule may be very much extended for some taxpayers and hardly affected at all for others.  It all depends on whether your return gets flagged for suspicious info, thereby becoming sidetracked from the regular refund schedule.

Picture a highway… from point A to point B.  Point A is the day you submit your tax return.  Point B is the day you get your IRS refund.  It’s a straight highway…which is how we used to be able to have things like the IRS Refund Schedule.  But fraud checks along the way are like exits off the main highway.  If your return gets flagged the your return has to exit the main highway while it gets checked over more carefully.  That will delay the supposed schedule.

Those exit-delays can happen several times, once time, or not at all so the idea of a refund schedule has been rendered obsolete now.  Therefore, if you need info on where your 2014 IRS refund might be, use the online IRS Refund Tracker located on the IRS website.

The IRS is Cutting Corners

June 1st, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Piggy Bank and Coins on Calendar

While the rest of us are experiencing brighter outlooks about the economy, the IRS is facing reality about budget issues.  To save money they are actually closing their doors on select days, telling their employees to stay home.  Staying home from work sounds nice, but consider this: it’s a furlough without pay.  That’s the whole point: the IRS is cutting corners by not paying employees during the furlough periods.

Your Federal Tax Refund Date and the IRS Furlough

What does this mean for federal tax refund dates?  Nothing, except nothing will be processed during the furlough days, meaning you could experience a day’s delay in your tax refund if you had requested an IRS extension.

The furlough dates, on which IRS offices will be closed, fall after the federal tax due date of April 15, 2013.  The first furlough date was May 24 and the next one is June 14.  By now most people have already submitted taxes and their returns are in process so the federal tax refund dates won’t be affected.

But if you applied for an IRS extension and plan to file your taxes on or around the furlough dates, you may have a bit of a delay.  But only by about one day since the furlough dates are spread out by at least a week between each date.

Dates the IRS is Closed Due to Furlough

On these five days, nothing will be moving forward chez IRS due to the furlough:

  • May 24, 2013
  • June 14, 2013
  • July 5, 2013
  • July 22, 2013
  • August 30, 2013

You won’t be able to call the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the toll-free IRS hotlines, or the taxpayer assistance centers that are sprinkled across the country.  No federal tax returns will be processed and no questions answered.

 Tax Due Dates are Mostly Unaffected

Nope, you won’t be able to get extra time to pay your taxes just because the IRS will be closed a few extra days this summer.  Tax payment deadlines are the same and no tax return due dates will change either.  Some federal tax deposits that occur on a more regular and frequent basis, such as excise tax deposits, may coincide with a furlough date but this has no effect on the due date.  In those cases, including employment tax deposits, the payments are made through EFTPS (the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System), which is not going to be closed on the furlough dates because it’s not part of the budget slash furlough program.

Will the Furlough Affect Anything?

Yes, if you are in process of working with the IRS to provide them documents that they requested, you’ll get an extra day if your process falls over a furlough date.  If you are being audited and have been asked to supply financial records for example, you’ll get extra time.  If your due date for providing something requested by the IRS, or for responding to the IRS about something is the same as a furlough date, you’ll get until the next business day to comply.  One extra day that is.

What About Web Services

Well you won’t be able to call the IRS and speak to a live person on furlough days, but you will be able to use some of their automated services.  You can order a tax transcript or calculate your withholding.  Where’s my Refund?  will not be available on IRS furlough days, however, and same goes for the Online Payment Agreement.  But, since the furlough days are spread around the most you’ll lose will be one day.

 

 

Federal Tax Refund Calendar

May 19th, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
calendar

There’s no longer a Federal Tax Refund Calendar for checking the status of your IRS refund.  Now, taxpayers who want to know the status of an IRS refund must log in with the IRS website and receive an answer that’s drawn from the IRS database system, just for them.  It’s more accurate and you’ll end up receiving more information in the long run.

But for a general all-purpose Federal Tax Refund Calendar and to see a timeline, here’s what we’ve got.

Federal Tax Refund Calendar

December 31     The End of the Tax Year

January 1     Usually you can start filing your federal income tax return by now

January 21     The earliest that your IRS refund would be ready, on average

January 31     W2 statements are due from employers to employees

January 31     1099-INT due recipients

January 31     1099-MISC due to contractors

February 18     1099-MISC due if there are amounts in boxes 8 or 14

As you can see, some documents you’ll need in order to prepare your income taxes are not even due to you until the end of January.  So even if you are able to file your taxes on January 1, you should wait until you get your W2 and 1099 statements, if applicable.

1099-MISC is for when you did work as a contractor and not as a regular employee somewhere.  1099-INT is for income you earned from the interest on your savings account.  W2s is the wage report from your employer.  The IRS gets a copy of all these things, the same copy you’ll get in the mail.  If you don’t wait for these tax statements and use them to prepare your tax return, you may be filling in the wrong amounts since you’ll be guessing what’s on them.  The IRS will notice any discrepancies and delay your IRS refund.  So, you might as well wait for your tax documents to arrive in the mail before you try to file your federal income tax return.

Estimating Your Progress in the Federal Tax Refund Calendar

If you electronically submitted your tax return to the IRS, the average time between clicking that submit button and seeing the refund in your account is 21 days.  That’s why, on the Federal Tax Refund Calendar timeline above, January 21 is listed as first possible day on average, that you could be receiving your refund.

If you mailed your return, it’s going to be at least a month before you can even think of receiving your IRS refund.

Even so, those times are average times for a refund.  Anything can delay your IRS refund, so why not just use the IRS refund tracker here.  It will give you information on your own personal refund, not a generic tax refund calendar that’s meant for everyone to use.

 

 

 

 

10 Reasons Your Federal Tax Refund Got Delayed

May 15th, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
us tax form

So by now we all know that the IRS takes at least 21 days to issue a federal income tax refund.  Some may get lucky and get their IRS refunds in 10 days or something like that.  But for the rest of us 21 days is the general rule of thumb.  Even given the 21 day standard, there really are no guarantees, and refund delays do happen.  The IRS can take its own sweet time issuing a tax refund, and there’s no law that says they can’t.

A Quick Note if You’re Stressed Out About a Federal Tax Refund Delay

If you are so concerned about your refund that a delay is causing you hardship, you should adjust your withholding so less is taken out of your paychecks.  To do this, simply fill out a new W4 form and submit it to your employer.  Here’s a link to the IRS website where you can download a W4 and print it out.  Or, you can ask your employer for a new one.

Why do Federal Tax Refund Delays Happen?

Because of fraud.  There’s more tax fraud so the IRS has stepped up the tax fraud combat program.  They’re doing more than ever now to catch identity thieves who steal not only your identity but also your tax refund.

Thieves will typically steal your name and social security number, then use that stolen personal information to file a fake tax return on your behalf.  The tax refund goes directly to the thief, of course.  They almost always file electronically.  The checks sent out by the IRS to phony taxpayers cost our government billions of dollars a year, so you can see why the IRS is intent on combating tax fraud.

The combat measures include assembling a profile of the typical fraudulent tax return and running each return through a filter that checks for similarities with the profile.  If your return sends up a red flag as it goes through the filter then your refund will get delayed while the auditors at the IRS check it out.

If your tax return isn’t fraudulent then you have nothing to worry about, you’ll just have to wait a little longer for your refund.

The IRS uses a method of corroboration, partly, to find fraud.  Corroboration comes from employers who file W2 forms with the IRS.  But sometimes that W2 doesn’t get to the IRS until way too late.  In many cases the tax refund has already been sent out!

So, if a return sends up a red flag, the IRS may old onto that return until corroboration evidence comes in.  Hence your delay.  Let’s look at some red flag issues that may explain your federal tax refund delay.

Ten Possible Reasons for Your Federal Tax Refund Delay

  1. claiming head of household when you aren’t one.  many single people will claim this tax filing status because it results in less tax paid or higher refund, whichever is applicable.
  2. claiming education credits when you aren’t eligible because you didn’t enroll in any classes or if your educational institution isn’t eligible to use with the education tax credit.
  3. claiming the child care credit and you didn’t pay for day care or didn’t have children
  4. claiming EIC by claiming dependents you don’t have.  EIC is the Earned Income Credit, designed for low income workers.  It gives a credit to low income workers to encourage them to work by not having all their income taxed away from them, making them just not want to work at all.  The more kids you have, the bigger the EIC.  So claiming fake kids is a common tax fraud method.  And a top reason why you may have a federal tax refund delay on your hands.
  5. you filed so early that some tax forms weren’t ready yet.  In this case the IRS just sits on your return until all software is ready to handle all tax forms.
  6. you put the wrong bank account info for your refund direct deposit.  Your tax refund bounces back to the IRS and they have to contact you, etc.
  7. you didn’t file electronically.  paper tax returns mailed to the IRS have to be processed by hand.  This adds at least a month to the arrival of your tax refund.
  8. you had to change something after your submitted your taxes.  amendments can’t be filed electronically so basically you’ll be on the same time schedule as the paper filers.
  9. You claimed the education credit for 2012.  The late decisions by congress on the fiscal cliff delayed a lot of programming the IRS had to do to get tax software ready for tax season.  IRS form 8863 wasn’t ready for processing by the IRS until March so if you filed before they were ready to process that form then your tax refund got delayed.
  10. You filed at the last minute.  If you filed late or right around the tax due date, then you aren’t alone!  So many people file at the deadline or right around it that the IRS has trouble processing that huge glut in a timely manner.  Just wait it out and you’ll eventually get your IRS tax refund.

Improvements on the Federal Tax Refund Schedule

May 2nd, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Happy Female Accountant Holding Income Tax Return

After filing federal tax returns, the most common question is how long until I get my tax refund?  Millions of taxpayers are due refunds each year, and the tax filing season can feel like winning the lottery for some people.  That’s because the average federal tax refund is something like $3000.  No kidding!

So, How Long Does it Take to Get My Federal Tax Refund?

That depends on a few things.  The most important factor in the length of the federal tax refund schedule is how you submitted your tax return.  If you filed electronically then your refund will get to you a lot quicker. Filing electronically is also called e-filing.  It means you used a computer to prepare and submit your taxes.  You more than likely filed electronically if you had someone else prepare your taxes for you.  Most professionals use e-filing now.  In fact, they are required to if they have over a certain number of tax prep clients.

For e-filers, the refund schedule is about 21 days.  Some get lucky and get their tax refunds in less time.  It can also take longer if your return needs to be looked over a second or third time.  This is often to protect against possible identity theft.

If you mailed in your tax return then be prepared to tack on an extra month to the federal tax refund schedule.  The IRS only has so many hands, and it takes longer to process paper than digital tax returns.

Your refund schedule is also affected by which form of payment you chose.  If you chose to have your refund paid via direct deposit, then you’ll get your refund faster.  If you told the IRS to mail you a check then tack on about another week.  Snail mail!

Where’s the Refund Schedule?

There used to be a federal tax refund schedule issued by the IRS every year.  Using the date your tax return was accepted by the IRS, you could look up the date when your refund was expended to be issued.

No more.  Now, you get something better, called the IRS Refund Tracker.  It’s available on the IRS website, so don’t try and use a third-party website claiming to offer refund tracking services.  You may become a victim of identity theft by doing that.  Go here to use the refund tracker on the IRS website.

You will be asked to type in your social security number and some more info that only you would know.  Get your tax return because you’ll need an exact dollar amount from that.

The IRS will give you information about your tax refund and yours alone, so the new new refund tracker is very useful, better than the old tax refund schedule.

Keeping Tabs on Your Refund

April 29th, 2013 | Posted by Admin in Your Federal Tax Refund - (Comments Off)
Money refund

This is a diverse world, but essentially we all have at least a few things in common, things that drive us- one of which is the necessity of money.  Yes some of us are more materialistic than others, but even the Dalai Lama needs to know where his money is coming from and where it’s going.  Betcha even he has an accountant.  If the Dalai Lama lived in the US and paid taxes, he would be just like us: asking Where’s My Refund? after filing his federal income tax return.  That’s because money is important, no matter who you are.

The IRS Has Changed Its Refund Status Page for the Better

The IRS recognizes this, and after years of issuing an all-purpose schedule of general guidelines that gave taxpayers a very rough estimate of when their tax refunds would be issued, things have finally changed for the better.  Now, the IRS lets taxpayers get individualized information regarding their own federal tax refund status.  You can simply log on to the Refund Status page on the IRS website. Submit your social security number, your filing status (married, single, etc) and the exact amount of the refund you’re waiting for (take that from your tax form that you filed) and they’ll tell you what’s up with your tax refund status.

The Refund Tracker Reduces Stress

Everyone who pays taxes is interested in his or her own federal tax refund status.  Those of us who get an IRS refund after filing income taxes are usually very anxious to get that money.  Sometimes our tax returns get stalled in the pipeline so refunds get delayed.  In the old days when all we had to refer to  was the old refund status calendar, all we could do was look at the calendar and see that a refund was late.  Now, with the new IRS refund tracker (that’s what the new system is called since it actually tracks your personal refund status for you), you can see an ETA and feel better that the refund isn’t just lost in space.  (too many acronyms?  ETA means estimated time of arrival).

It’s Good But You Don’t Get ALL the Answers

The new way of finding out about your federal tax refund status is better, but it still won’t tell you why your refund may be delayed.  All you can do here is guess…there are common reasons why a refund gets delayed.  First thing to remember is that there isn’t necessarily a problem if your refund is late.  It usually means it got flagged for possible link to a federal tax refund scam.  There are things like identity theft that occur all the time with the IRS and they’ve taken measures to fight back.  One is to be very careful with tax refunds.  The slightest thing that’s off can trigger a red flag and therefore a refund delay.  But don’t worry: if you aren’t trying to scam the IRS your tax return will eventually get released back into the pipeline and your federal tax return status will go back on track to normal.