Refund Feed

Have your snail mail and email boxes been filling up lately with tax statements? Mine have. That's good. As soon as we have all these documents detailing our 2015 tax transactions in our hands, physically or digitally, we can file our tax returns. The deadline for employers and other folks who must send out tax documents to affected taxpayers technically is Jan. 31. When that date falls on a federal holiday or, like this year, a weekend, then it gets pushed to the next business day. So Monday, Feb. 1, is the deadline this year, meaning our W-2 and 1099... Read more →


The list of states warning taxpayers that they'll have to wait longer for their tax refunds is growing. But don't blame the state tax collectors. Anger should be directed at the increasing number of criminals who are stealing individuals' personal data and then using it to file fraudulent tax returns, at federal and state levels. Illinois, Louisiana and Utah revenue departments were the first to announce that new security protocols would mean more time to verify and process state returns. Now we've gotten similar messages from Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Carolina tax officials. South Carolina: Let's start down... Read more →


"Don't count on getting the refund by a certain date to make major purchases or pay other financial obligations. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it’s possible your tax return may require additional review and take longer." That's the advice from the Internal Revenue Service in its just updated Publication 2043. A few years ago, this document was known as the IRS e-file refund cycle chart. Basically, it told electronic filers when they could expect to get their refunds. Three weeks for refunds: However, as folks started getting antsy when their refund checks didn't... Read more →


The 43 states that collect some type of income tax from their residents plan to follow the Internal Revenue Service schedule and start their 2016 tax-filing seasons on Jan. 19. But when it comes to refunds associated with 2015 filings, the federal and some state calendars diverge dramatically. The IRS, so far, is sticking with its hope prediction that it will issue more than 90 percent of refunds this year within at least 21 days after it receives the electronically filed returns. Illinois, Louisiana and Utah officials, however, are saying not so fast. They have alerted their taxpayers that in... Read more →


Hello 2016! Some of us (not me) got up early to welcome you. Others (me, as you can tell from the posting time on this item) are still easing into this brand new year. But one thing that most of us soon will be doing, regardless of our post-New Year's Eve celebration energy level, is making New Year's resolutions. Yeah, I know making resolutions is the annual, and usually temporary, victory of hope over experience. Most of our attempts to make ourselves and our lives better, at least within the strictures of quick and catchy Jan. 1 lists of goals,... Read more →


Attention Golden State shoppers, your state tax collector might have some cash that could make your holiday gift buying easier. The California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) says this past year it got back more than 49,000 personal income tax refunds that the U.S. Postal Service couldn't deliver. Those tens of thousands of tax checks total $28 million. The money is just waiting for its rightful owners to claim their portion of it. Most of the returned refunds, says the FTB, went to taxpayers who moved but didn't let the state tax office know their new addresses. The FTB suggests Californians... Read more →


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 →