“When will I get my tax refund?”
“If I were to get a tax notice, when would I know?”
“Now that we’ve amended my return, when will I get my refund?”
These are questions we hear every day. And, they are excellent questions that taxpayers have a right to ask. Unfortunately, without a magic wand, it is very difficult to get definitive answers from the IRS.
Let’s start by looking at a few facts about the IRS and their workload.
First, according to this article in CPA Trendlines, the IRS ranks dead last in the American Customer Satisfaction Index of federal agencies. But, unfortunately, the IRS also ranks first in the number of customers it serves.
They simply are not staffed to handle the magnitude of work that comes in during such a short time period. To put it into perspective, over 165 million returns were filed in 2022. And while they are reportedly doing better answering phones this year with the 5,000 agents who have been added, there are no time frames to be able to set expectations for the questions taxpayers ask.
If you are one of the lucky few who is able to speak to a live agent, you will have spent considerable time on hold. Additionally, if you needed to call back for further clarification, you may get a completely different answer to the same question.
To complicate matters further, the location that processes returns and notices is different from the people and location that physically sends them out.
So, what should you know?
Typically, once a return has been e-filed, it can take up to 21 days to receive your refund via direct deposit.
Tax notices (letters from the IRS) may be sent out for any number of reasons after a return is filed- from requesting more information, advising of a bigger or smaller refund, or simply advising you of changes to your account. They are sent after the IRS has reviewed the return, and they are always sent via mail.
If you have amended a return from a prior year, the timeframe for getting your refund back can take much longer. In fact, according to the IRS, it can take up to 20 weeks. However, the good news is that the IRS will pay interest on refunds for amended returns, calculated from the original due date of the return. Of course, the reverse is also true if you have a balance due.
Tax season can be a very stressful time for taxpayers when you struggle to get answers to questions that feel simple. But, rest assured that when there are answers, we will get them for you. We are experts in tax strategy so you don’t have to be, and we are here to advise and advocate for you throughout the entire process of managing financial and tax decisions- both personal and business. Tax season is just a part of that process, and we are going to get you through it.