Refund Feed

The Browns are in Pittsburgh today. That's good news for Cleveland tax officials. On this given Sunday, they don't have to worry about taxing visiting National Football League players. Cleveland officials are revising their jock tax system, through which they've collected money from athletes and entertainers who've come into town to perform over the years. The city lost a court battle over its jock tax methodology and could end up refunding, by one estimate, as much as $2.4 million to previously taxed NFL players. Before it was challenged, Cleveland had taken its tax portion from visiting pro footballers' pockets based... Read more →

Attention Maryland residents. If you paid taxes to another state between 2011 and 2014 and were denied a tax credit for your county piggyback taxes against the out-of-state payments, the Old Line State is now handing back the money you're due. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, behind podium, and Gov. Larry Hogan held a press conference Sept. 28 to announce creation of a special online site to help taxpayers get the county tax credits ordered earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court. Photo by Joe Andrucyk via Maryland Governor's Office Photo Gallery. In May, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that... Read more →

Paper is sooooo 20th century. Even recycled paper has lost its cachet. Everything seems to be going digital. Except in Virginia. Specifically, in the Virginia Department of Taxation. The Old Dominion is going back to the future next year when it comes to state tax refunds. On March 10, Virginia's Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law a bill, sent to him by the Republican-controlled assembly, to do away with the state's tax refund debit card. The new law directs the state's tax department to return to issuing tax refunds as paper checks or via direct deposit. The requirement takes... Read more →

Despite all the warnings, the recently wrapped 2015 filing season is shaping up, at least as far as refunds are concerned, to be about the same as last year. Internal Revenue Service filing data through April 17 shows that the number of returns the agency received and processed was, in each case, fractionally greater than at the end of the 2014 filing season. The average refund amount also was very close. It was $2,711 this year, about 1 percent larger than the average 2014 filing season taxpayer check. IRS Action Through April 18, 2014 Through April 17, 2015 Percentage change... Read more →

I can't imagine leaving my tax refund in Uncle Sam's hands for years. But then, I usually don't get a refund. Most taxpayers, however, do get at least some tax cash back every year. And every year, some folks don't claim what's theirs. This year, the Internal Revenue Service has around $1 billion for more than 1 million taxpayers who didn't file a 2011 tax return. The parceling out of that billion or so bucks to the 2011 tax year nonfilers could produce a nice chunk of change for some folks. The median refund check, says the IRS, is $698.... Read more →

February sure lived up to its status as the shortest month of the year. We got to the end of it, and the potential tax moves to make, so dang quickly. Today means we're almost halfway through with the 2015 tax filing season, which officially began on Jan. 20. So far, the Internal Revenue Service reports receiving almost 50 million tax returns. That's about a third of third of what the agency expects to get this year. As usual, especially early in the filing season, most of the 1040s have resulted in refunds. Through Feb. 20, that's the case for... Read more →

Who loves tax season more than the Internal Revenue Service? Retailers. Flush with cash that Uncle Sam has been collecting from paychecks all year, Americans take their tax refunds and head out to stores. Or maybe not. The results of a new poll look like they might dampen the anticipation of many shop owners. Holding on to hefty refunds: While the IRS says that the average check issued through Feb. 20 was $3,120, it looks like many refund recipients will be saving, not spending their tax cash. The National Retail Federation's annual Tax Returns Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and... Read more →

While the Internal Revenue Service has long been on high alert for fake tax filings, fraudulent returns now are a major concern for state tax departments. And that's posing problems for folks who are untouched by tax identity theft. Many refunds are being slowed as state officials take added fraud precautions. Some state tax refunds are not being issued in the form taxpayers expect. Beyond TurboTax: Earlier this month, the country's leading tax software program TurboTax temporarily halted e-filing of state returns when more than two dozen states reported indications of possible tax fraud in connection with some of those... Read more →

Attention smartphone addicted taxpayers, the 2015 version of the Internal Revenue Service's app is now available. That's good news for taxpayers who want the handheld option to find out just where in the IRS system their 2014 refunds are. As in the past, you enter your Social Security number, your filing status, and the amount you're expecting back and hit enter. If you're concerned about plugging in your nine-digit tax ID number, the IRS says don't be. The agency assures us that the number will be masked and encrypted for security purposes. Finding help: While refund tracking is likely to... Read more →

No tax season ever runs without any hitches. 2015 is no different. So far this year we've seen some early season frustration with new Affordable Care Act requirements, as well as tax identity theft fraud scares that slowed processing of some returns. But all in all, despite preseason worries, the 2015 federal tax filing season is off to a booming start. Just ask the recipients of the almost 7.6 million refunds that were sent as of Jan. 30. The Internal Revenue Service says that number of refunds is almost twice what it issued by the end of January 2014. Of... Read more →

About a month ago, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen met with the media and warned that the coming tax-filing season was going to be a pretty miserable few months for both his agency and taxpayers. That same day, Dec. 18, the commissioner sent the same gloomy message to his staff. Now, in what could be one of the worst employee pep talks ever delivered, Koskinen has reiterated to IRS employees the dire outlook for the 2014 filing season. In his latest email to IRS works, sent yesterday (Jan. 13), Koskinen offered "some important new details about what the 2015... Read more →

Well, well, well. I'm going to pull my crystal ball (yes, that's it pictured there) out of storage and dust it off. It seems like I've got a bit of my predictive mojo back. That hasn't been the case very much in recent years, at least not where the U.S. Congress is involved. Remember the estate tax? Nobody, including me, thought those fools lawmakers would let it expire at the end of 2009. But they did. And they took us over the fiscal cliff, albeit only for a couple of days. Still, logical people, who are most folks who don't... Read more →

The 2015 filing season is less than two months away (we hope!), but the Internal Revenue Service still is holding on to taxpayer cash from previous years. A lot of cash. A Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report released just before Thanksgiving reveals that Uncle Sam's tax collector is holding millions of dollars in individual accounts and billions in business accounts essentially in limbo. These so-called frozen credit accounts -- $46.4 million in connection with individual taxpayers and $1.6 billion connected to business accounts -- mean that some of the taxpayers are still waiting for refunds, says TIGTA.... Read more →

Tax fraud never stops, but Uncle Sam and other government officials are doing decent jobs of stopping, or at least catching, tax refund crooks. A Cobb County, Georgia, grand jury on Aug. 28 indicted four people in what officials describe as massive tax fraud scheme. The four face a total of 3,736 counts, including identity fraud, computer theft, computer forgery, burglary, evidence tampering, money laundering and racketeering, in connection with the alleged scheme that started in 2005. In 2013, the four allegedly stole more than $2 million in state tax refunds using information from more than 1,800 victims, according to... Read more →

Two Central Texas men have been indicted on charges of attempting to aid terrorist groups. One of them allegedly was going to accomplish that goal thanks to his $5,000 federal tax refund. Michael Todd Wolfe of Austin and Rahatul Ashikim Khan of Round Rock, just north of the Texas capital city, are scheduled to appear in federal court on June 30 to face charges that they recruited jihadi fighters through an online chat room. Khan (left), also known as Rahat Khan, AuthenticTauheed19 and AT19, is accused of attempting to entice others to travel overseas to support terrorist activities, including committing... Read more →

20,000 Kansans still waiting for their state tax refunds

Every year I nag preach remind folks about adjusting payroll withholding so that the tax man gets only as much as he should. That advice applies not only to the Internal Revenue Service, but state tax collectors, too. Just ask around 20,000 Kansas taxpayers who won't get their state refund checks for another couple of weeks. The problem, says the Kansas Department of Revenue, is its accounting process as it wraps up the fiscal year, which ends on June 30. Kansas finance officials routinely shut down issuance of all payments in mid-June, including to taxpayers expecting refunds, as the state... Read more →

Your federal income tax refund finally arrived and it was less than you expected. What's the deal? It could be debts you owe. The U.S. Treasury, which is boss to the Internal Revenue Service, is able to nab part or all of your refund to pay some outstanding federal or state debts you have. This ability comes thanks to the Treasury Offset Program, or TOP, which is run by the Bureau of Fiscal Service, or BFS. Debts that are collected this way typically include past-due child support, unpaid student loan amounts and due state income tax. Since 2010, TOP also... Read more →

Just days before the April 15 filing deadline, the Internal Revenue Service reported that most taxpayers had already submitted their returns. Of the almost 113 million returns the IRS had in its hands on April 11, more than 85 million resulted in refunds. The latest federal tax refunds are a bit bigger than those received by players of early Monopoly games. The average refund amount as tax-filing season was winding down was $2,751. That's slightly larger than the average refund a year ago. It's also this week's By the Numbers figure. Have your received your refund from Uncle Sam yet?... Read more →

Tax credits are great tax breaks. They apply after you figure what you owe Uncle Sam and help reduce your tax bill dollar-for-dollar. Refundable tax credits are even better. As the name indicates, they can eliminate any tax you owe and any excess credit is sent to you as a refund. From an eligible taxpayer's perspective, the answer to the question about refundable credits' worth is a hearty, "Definitely!" But from a wider point of view, many argue that refundable tax credits are not the best or most efficient way to provide economic assistance to folks who qualify for the... Read more →

If you've already filed your 2013 tax return, chances are you're getting a refund. Most taxpayers do, either serendipitously as my personal finance blogging colleague J. Money recently discovered or because they view over-withholding as a handy forced savings account. Through March 21, the Internal Revenue Service had issued more than 67 million tax refunds. The average amount for all refunds that week was $2,872. That's a little less than the $2,980 average refund amount that was directly deposited to taxpayer accounts during that same time period. Refunds and filing timing: It's also notably smaller than the $3,317 average refund... Read more →