Refund Feed

Today is a big day for you if you're expecting a federal tax refund. Feb. 15 is when the Internal Revenue Service can finally start issuing refunds to folks who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Photo by eFile989 via Flickr But don't head to your bank just yet. Cleared, but not completed: The refund hold, mandated by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act as, in part, a way to help stop tax identity theft and refund fraud, does officially end today. But from the get-go of this filing... Read more →


Taxes are confusing anyway, but when a filing season has some special considerations, the misinformation increases. And with the availability of social media, the tax myths multiply. That's happening this year since refunds from some very specific tax returns are, by law, being held until the middle of February. Here are five tax refund myths the Internal Revenue Service says are making the rounds, along with the truth about the situation. Myth 1: All Refunds Are Delayed Yes, some refunds are delayed, but not every single one. The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes, or PATH, Act has a provision that... Read more →


One thing that's constant every tax filing season is that people who are expecting refunds file their returns early. Until this year. The number of tax returns filed, processed and refunds issued are all down dramatically this filing season. The impact of a required hold on some refunds also is affecting the average check amount, which at this point last year was $3,385 but is just $1,994 so far into 2017. Internal Revenue Service data so far this filing season, which officially started Jan. 23, shows a dramatic decrease in the number of tax returns the agency has received and... Read more →


The 2017 tax filing season has been officially underway for just more than a week. Lots of folks have already filed their returns. The Ally Bank fortune cookie I got at FinCon16 last September was already planning for this filing season. And yes, after acknowledging the good tax advice, I ate the cookie! And, according to ecstatic posts on social media, some have received their refunds. Other taxpayers, however, are waiting to file. Form-ulaic delay: Why the delay. In a lot of cases, folks haven't yet received their W-2s, 1099s and other documents with the data necessary to fill out... Read more →


Most taxpayers who file federal returns also must do the same for their state taxes. And most those state filings tend to conform to federal laws. That means that, among other things, state deadlines usually are the same as the ones set by the Internal Revenue Service. This year, it also means that state tax refunds, like their federal counterparts, are likely to be later than usual. Feb. 15 delay for certain refunds: Millions of taxpayers who claim the federal Earned Income or additional child tax credits already are dealing with delayed refund checks from Uncle Sam. The IRS is... Read more →


Do you have to file a return? Don't shoot the messenger, but the answer usually is yes. If you are a U.S. citizen or resident who made money last year, whether you must tell the Internal Revenue Service about it depends on three things: Your gross income, Your filing status, and Your age. The IRS created the table below to give you an idea of whether you should start getting your filing material together. A quick filing note for some older New Year's Day babies. The IRS says that if you were born on Jan. 1, 1952, you are considered... Read more →


Hello, 2017. For some of us, you sure took your sweet time. Others think you arrived a tad too soon. Few of us, however, are as ready to get our taxes as done-diddly-done as is Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson's annoying cheery neighbor. If you click the image, you'll see a GIF that gives you a good idea of Ned Flanders' obsessive-compulsive tendencies. While even a dedicated tax geek like myself thinks Neddie is a bit too filing gung-ho for the first day of the New Year, we all should take advantage of January's 31 days to get our 2016 taxes... Read more →


Get out your calendars! The IRS has some tax-related dates for us. The biggie is the start of the upcoming tax-filing season. That will happen on Jan. 23, 2017. That Monday, the Internal Revenue Service says it will start processing our 2016 tax year returns. Here are some details on that day, as well as three other important tax days/deadlines in 2017. Jan. 23, 2017: In announcing the official start of the 2017 tax filing season, the IRS acknowledged that eager filers expecting refunds are likely to get their 1040s filled out well before next Jan. 23. Many software companies... Read more →


Taxes are about dollar amounts and dates. April 15 obviously is the biggie. But Dec. 31 is almost as important. The end of a tax year is, for the most part, the last time you can make tax moves that could help lower your coming tax bill. While we all wish we could have Homer Simpson's to-do list, when it comes to taxes, most of us need to take care of some potentially money saving tax tasks by Dec. 31. With the days rapidly dwindling (the countdown clock over there in the ol' blog's right column is tracking them), here... Read more →


The main 2016 tax filing season is almost over, and things definitely are slowing down, at least form the refund issuance standpoint. The Internal Revenue Service says that through March 25, it had received 89.4 million returns and processed almost 87 million of them. Both those amounts are slightly less than at this time in 2015. Refund amounts, too, are down a tad. The IRS has issued 70.8 million refunds totaling almost $203 billion. The average refund this year is, as of now, $2,866. In late March 2015, the agency had sent out 71.6 million refunds worth a total $204.4... Read more →


Each tax season, millions of folks get a large chunk of money. For many, this refund money is the largest lump sum they'll see all year. A lot of those folks, however, don't have bank accounts. So they either get their Internal Revenue Service refunds in check form or they have the money loaded onto a prepaid card. Reloadable prepaid cards are available from many tax preparation software programs. Or from tax preparation firms. Or from major retailers such as grocery, drug and big box stores. Just Google the term for myriad options. But there's one big problem with these... Read more →


The 2016 federal tax filing season so far is, for the most part, statistically identical to 2015. Through March 11, around 74.456 million taxpayers have submitted returns. At this time last year, the count was 74.455 million. The Internal Revenue Service is running a tad slower this year in its processing of those millions of 1040 forms. However, the pace is less than 1 percentage point behind last year's return handling rate. Still waiting for your tax refund? Federal refunds seem to be on pace, but things are slow in many states. As for the most important issue, refunds, the... Read more →


Tax identity theft and related refund fraud are major concerns of U.S. taxpayers. That was clear in the recent Bankrate Money Pulse poll that found 72 percent of taxpayers would be willing to wait longer for their refunds if the delay would help the Internal Revenue Service fight identity thieves. The acceptable refund wait times ranged from one week to more than two months. And before you jump to the conclusion that folks were just giving lip service to the question by opting for the minimum delay, hold off on that leap. A surprising 22 percent told Princeton Survey Research... Read more →


Nope, that headline date is not wrong. If you didn't file a federal tax return three years ago for the 2012 tax year and were due a refund, you must file that old paperwork by this year's April filing due date to get your money. For most of us, that's April 18, but it's a day later in Maine and Massachusetts thanks to Patriots Day celebrations in those two New England States. If you don't, then Uncle Sam gets to keep your refund. And that could be a sizable amount. Almost $1 billion unclaimed refunds: The Internal Revenue Service Federal... Read more →


If you make money, you generally have to file a tax return. And while some young taxpayers are able to avoid filling out a 1040, every filing season there are a lot of new filers in their 20s or younger fulfilling their tax duties for the first time. What do you mean this little guy owes taxes? The Internal Revenue Service's Statistics of Income for the 2013 tax year, the latest one for which there is complete data, reports that more than 25 million filers were younger than 26. These young taxpayers accounted for 17 percent of that year's filings.... Read more →


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 →