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Got a refund coming? Stay tuned.

Posted on August 3, 2020

With the July 15 tax deadline well passed, those expectantly waiting for a refund may just have to hold tight – and wait. The Internal Revenue Service had many thousands of last-minute filings and has been very busy processing them with a restricted staff.

The bottom line, say Teipen Selanders Poynter & Ayres CPAs, is that the IRS will get refunds out the door first, but isn’t saying much more about when refund checks will be issued.

Shrewd taxpayers who knew they were going to receive a refund and filed their federal tax returns before the July 15th extended deadline may have already received theirs. But those that filed on or near July 15th are likely waiting in a long line and understandably eager for details about when their refund will arrive.

When it comes to anticipating tax refunds, however, some misinformation just won’t stop circulating. Here’s what to know:

  • The best and easiest way to check on a refund is by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on gov and the IRS2Go mobile app.
  • A tax refund’s status can be checked 24 hours after the taxpayer receives an e-file acceptance notification.
  •  “Where’s My Refund?” is updated once a day, usually overnight.
  • Taxpayers who filed electronically and used direct deposit can expect their refund faster than those who mailed a paper return.
  • Taxpayers who filed a paper tax return will likely face processing and refund delays. That’s because it takes longer to process paper returns.
  • Taxpayers who filed a paper return should not file the same tax return again or call the IRS.

Why the delay this year? The IRS is experiencing delays in processing paper tax returns due to limited staffing. If you have already filed a paper return, know that that the IRS is processing paper returns in the order in which they are received.

Additionally, interest on individual 2019 refunds reflected on returns filed by July 15, 2020 will generally be paid from April 15, 2020, until the date of the refund. Interest payments may be received separately from the refund and are considered taxable income in the year received.

The following are NOT true:

  • Getting a refund this year means there’s no need to adjust withholding for 2020. Not necessarily.
Adjusting tax withholding with an employer can help ensure that neither too much nor too little tax is withheld from an employee’s paycheck. Explore the Tax Withholding Estimator on the IRS.gov website to find out.
  • Contacting the IRS will expedite a refund. Absolutely false. You cannot move a refund date forward or get any additional information with a phone call.
  • Ordering a tax transcript is a secret way to get a refund date. Absolutely no truth to this. Trust us. We would know.
  • Something is wrong when the refund amount is less than expected. Not necessarily.
There are a lot of reasons that cause a tax refund to be different than expected, including taxpayer math errors, owing child support, student loans, or prior federal or state taxes. You will get a letter of explanation with details. Some taxpayers may also receive a letter from the Department of Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service if their refund was reduced to offset certain financial obligations.

So, expect delays in tax processing this year, and know there are no miracle shortcuts. The TSPA team states you will absolutely will get your refund, assuming your tax preparation was well-researched and correctly executed.