Show Me the Money: When Can I Expect My Tax Refund?
Tax filing season got a late start this year thanks to the 2013 government shutdown; the IRS pushed back its official return acceptance date from January 21 to January 31. Now that IRS is accepting returns, when can taxpayers expect to see their refund?
The IRS claims that 9 out of 10 refunds are issued in less than 21 days. The IRS website has a tool called, "Where's My Refund?" that can be used to check the status of a return 24 hours after the agency receives it electronically or 4 weeks after it is received by mail (i.e., paper return).
The IRS and tax professionals alike strongly encourage taxpayers to file electronically. Doing so can result in a quicker refund. In addition, how a taxpayer elects to receive a refund, via direct deposit or paper check, can affect wait times. Generally, the closer to the deadline (April 15th) that a return is filed, the longer the wait will be (as a majority of filers tend to wait until the deadline approaches).
It is important to note that a return can be filed without immediate payment. No penalty or interest will be levied until the April 15th deadline. Of course, there is always the option of filing for an extension, but generally speaking it is better to timely file your return, and it is important to remember that payments are still due by April 15th even when an extension has been timely filed.
In some cases, individuals can receive tax breaks and refundable credits even if they do not have to pay income tax for a given year. Thus, just because a tax return is not filed does not mean that an individual cannot benefit from professional assistance.
Don't delay - April 15th will be here before you know it!