Now that the 2018 Filing Season is open for 2017 Tax Return Preparation, many people are anxious to get their returns in early and receive their refund! There are a lot of myths circulating about refunds, delays and ways to “navigate the system”.
The first myth is that all refunds are going to be delayed. Most refunds are issued with 21 days and while some could be delayed for many reasons, the majority are not. Also, using e-filing and direct deposit not only speed up the entire process but ensure that your return is filed faster than someone else who may be trying to steal your identity and filing on your behalf. E-filing is safe and the fastest way to process your return and direct deposit ensures a “check” cannot be “lost in the mail”.
Another myth is that refunds with the EITC or ACTC are going to be delayed as well. By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for tax returns claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. Returns with these credits will begin on February 15th and if processed electronically and there are no other issues, tax payers should begin seeing the refunds hit their banks around February 27th.
Another myth is that the IRS will call or email a tax payer about their refund. This is not true and if you ever receive a phone call from the IRS, it is most likely a scam. The IRS will send you written notification (and not by email) if they need to communicate with you. The best way to find out about your refund is to check the “Where’s My Refund” link on the IRS website located at https://www.irs.gov/refunds and follow the instructions. Calling the IRS will not speed up the process but if it has been an unusually long time period, then you definitely should call to make sure everything was received and processed if their website is not giving you the answer you need.
If you think you are due a refund and are anxious to receive it, the best way is to ensure you keep good records of your tax information so you can file on time and if you are using a Tax Professional, make sure you provide all the necessary information and are quick to respond to any questions they may have. Questions could delay the completion of your tax return. And finally, if you are unsure how to prepare your taxes or handle a specific situation, then it may be time to seek advice or assistance from a licensed Tax Professional.