Tax Refund and Why You’re Having Trouble Getting Through to the IRS


Photo Courtesy of Pexels – Karolina Grabowska

If you’re calling the IRS asking about your tax refund, and can’t get through, don’t panic if you get a message due to high call volume with please call tomorrow. The IRS is still digging out from a mountain of paper responses and paper returns.

They are processing those returns in the order they are received. The Where’s My Refund feature on www.irs.gov and the IRS2GO app for your smartphone are great ways to track your refund. Remember, that if the IRS hasn’t gotten to your return just yet you will get a message such as the information doesn’t match. Sometimes these tools will give you a 4-digit code and that indicates a problem.

Being without a 4-digit code is not necessarily bad since it would mean they might need a form or something else is going on delaying things. Using this tool enables you to check three years of refunds. Currently you can check 2021, 2020 and 2019. You can even initiate a trace through that tool. There is a button to push where you can indicate you never got the refund!

But if you get a message telling you it doesn’t match and if you mailed in your tax return to what you know as the correct address, then just keep checking those two places. Both pull information from the same source so you don’t have to check both. They are updated once a day usually overnight.

A family member mailed in his 2019 tax return in late February and it took months for that return to be processed. He just checked the Where’s My Refund feature and one morning Where’s My Refund said that IRS was processing the return. He finally received that tax refund in August 2020.

Should you get through to the IRS and they check and can’t find your return currently they are telling people to allow 16 weeks from the date of the call. This doesn’t indicate that the process is going to take 16 weeks, it could just mean they don’t want you calling every day asking about this. And don’t send in another return! They will think you are changing something and treat the extra return as a “duplicate” return, like you are amending or changing something and this could delay things by 20 weeks.

They have another web address www.irs.gov/covidstatus to give you the current operational status of the IRS during covid. They offer sound advice, like don’t send a response to a letter twice and so on. And they will update this as changes occur. And I know this is a royal pain but hopefully this will get better in time. In addition, the IRS is hiring people too if you wanted to help out!

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