Refund Feed

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 →

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 →