The 2012 Tax Refund Delay: What You Need to Know Now

When I was in college, I remember really looking forward to getting my tax refund…in June. And it was a check. A paper check I had to take all the way to the bank to deposit. Yes, I filed by the April deadline and this was just a couple of very, very short decades ago.

Now, just about everyone is e-filing –- which significantly speeds up the tax filing process. Doug Shulman, IRS commissioner, says it best, “E-file is the best option for taxpayers. E-file enables taxpayers to file more accurate returns and receive their refunds quickly and safely.” And, just last year, the IRS deposited more than 79 million tax refunds electronically, which saved many trips to the bank and most e-filers received their money in as little as 10 days from the date they filed.

However, because the IRS is experiencing unanticipated delays in federal tax processing this year, it could take one to two weeks after returns are accepted for refunds to be delivered. The IRS is working to remedy this situation, which is affecting taxpayers no matter what filing method they used – the delays are not limited to H&R Block clients.

The IRS issued this statement Jan. 26:

“When the IRS announced the opening of the 2012 filing season, it advised taxpayers who electronically file and select direct deposit that they could see their refunds in as few as 10 days and 90 percent of refunds are provided within 21 days. Some taxpayers are getting refunds much faster, but at this time taxpayers should expect refunds to be issued as indicated in the original IRS guidelines.

The one-week delay for some refunds relates to fine-tuning IRS systems to adjust for new safeguards put in place this tax season to provide stronger protection against refund fraud.  The IRS is providing additional screening for fraud this year before issuing refunds, but the vast majority of taxpayers can still continue to expect to receive their refunds in a timely fashion.”

As a reminder, here are some ways to check on the status of your tax refund:

IRS

  • Call 800-829-1040
  • Visit the Where’s My Refund page – usually has information about e-filed returns within 72 hours of being accepted, and information about paper returns within three to four weeks

H&R Block

  • Call 800-HRBLOCK
  • Log on to your H&R Block account – make sure your return was accepted by the IRS
  • Use the free H&R Block Mobile app – you don’t even have to be a client to use this method.

H&R Block will keep you posted on this situation.

Update 2/23/12:

Based on current IRS guidance, most refunds are being issued from the IRS in 10 – 21 days. Based on the new guidance from the IRS it could take longer. You can check the status of your return and get an estimated refund date from the IRS by going to www.irs.gov and clicking on Where’s My Refund? or by calling 1-800-829-1954.

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