Tax season can be of angst and frustration. Waiting for your refund can seem to take an eternity. Here are the top six myths about income tax refunds and the reality you need to know…
Myth 1: All refunds are delayed
They aren’t, and most taxpayers get their refunds in less than three weeks. It’s even faster if taxpayers use electronic filing and direct deposit, according to the IRS. By law, the agency can’t issue refunds for returns that claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The IRS began processing tax returns Jan. 29. Still, some returns take longer to process for several reasons. For one, the IRS and its Security Summit partners are strengthening security reviews to thwart fraudsters.
Myth 2: Refunds for those claiming EITC and/or ACTC will be sent Feb. 15
Just because the IRS can’t issue refunds that include these credits before mid-February doesn’t mean taxpayers will get those refunds in mid-February. Feb. 27 is more realistic for taxpayers who opted for direct deposit with problem-free returns.
Myth 3: Order a tax transcript to find out a refund date
Nice try, but… nope. According to the IRS, the transcript information doesn’t necessarily indicate the refund amount or when it will be received. People can use a transcript to validate past income and tax-filing status for mortgage, and student and small-business loan applications, but they should use the agency’s “Where’s my Refund?” to check on their refund status.
Myth 4: A call to the IRS or tax preparer will reveal a refund date
Are you gritting your teeth yet? Again, it’s best to go to “Where’s My Refund” at IRS.gov or use the IRS2Go mobile app. Refund status is updated once a day, typically overnight. “Where’s my refund” has the same info that the IRS phone reps do.
Myth 5: Call the IRS
If you’ve ever tried this, you can skip this one because you know it’s pretty frustrating. IRS.gov has a lot of information that can help.
Myth 6: The IRS will call or email taxpayers about refunds
A great big NO on this one. By now, hopefully everyone has heard that the IRS does NOT call, text, email or use social media to give or request personal and financial information. If anyone does call saying they are from the IRS, you should know that it’s a scam and report the incident.
The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment that requires a specific method, such as a prepaid debt card, gift card or wire transfer; threaten to bring in the cops; demand tax payments without allowing the taxpayer time for an appeal; or ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
If you have questions about your refund, first click here to go to the IRS.gov website to see if your question is addressed. If you still have questions, contact your tax advisor at HW&Co.