If you’ve filed your return and haven’t received your refund this tax season, then we’ll cover the top five reasons in this article. We’ll also provide the information and links on how you can resolve some of these issues directly with the IRS and prevent them from happening in future tax years.
Reason #1: You Received an Identity Verification Letter from the IRS
The number one reason is that you received an identity verification letter from the IRS. This is by far the most common reason we see federal tax returns remaining unprocessed for long periods of time, and the IRS will not issue a refund until the return has been processed. The IRS has been getting an increasing amount of fraudulent refund claims, and implemented many anti-fraud measures, so they flag a high number of returns for identity verification before processing them.
When you receive an identity verification notice, the IRS puts your return on hold to process until you respond. If you never respond, the return never processes, and you never get your refund. You may even get a notice in the mail telling you that you never filed your return. While the IRS does keep a record of the date the return is received, you will have to adequately respond and clear the identity verification notice for the IRS to consider the return filed.
We are seeing individuals not properly respond to this notice because most of the notices direct you to call a phone line with the IRS that takes hours to get ahold of someone. Therefore, the first thing you should do if you believe you may have gotten this type of notice is to try to complete the online identity verification with the IRS.
If that doesn’t work, then you’ll need to call the IRS identity verification phone number at 800-830-5084. Whenever you’re confirming your identity, you’ll want to have your personal information and tax documents available to answer the questions. Once you’ve successfully verified your identity, you’ll have to wait for it to process, which will take several weeks before receiving your refund.
Reason #2: Your Mailing Address is Out of Date
The second reason you haven’t received your refund check is that you don’t have your mailing address updated with the IRS. The IRS will update your address every time you file a tax return, so if you’ve moved since the last time you filed, then the IRS no longer knows where you live. And it’s not the IRS’s responsibility to make sure you actually receive your refund, they just have to send it to your most recent address.
Even though the IRS directs you to mail in Form 8822 Change of Address, the IRS is facing delays in processing time. If you want the refund to arrive sooner, a better option would be to have a licensed tax professional call the IRS on the priority practitioner line and update your address while on the phone. This method will also allow the professional to see if the IRS shows your return as processed and whether the refund was already mailed out to your old address. If that’s the case, then you’ll need to request the IRS to trace the check to make sure it was not deposited, and then they’ll reissue it to the new address on file. It’s also possible that you’ll find out the return is unprocessed due to an identity verification letter mailed out to your old address, in which case you should go to the identity verification website listed under reason number one.
Reason #3: You Owe Back Taxes
The third reason you haven’t received your refund check is that you owe back taxes. The IRS will not give you money back if you owe them tax for other years, and the refund showing on your return will be applied toward the oldest year first. If you owe back taxes and want to make sure the IRS does not keep your refund, then you need to plan to make sure that you withhold less tax during the year. You can calculate how much to withhold by talking with your tax professional or using the IRS withholding calculator.
Reason #4: You Filed a Joint Return and Payment is Misapplied
The fourth reason you haven’t received your refund check is that you made a tax payment on our spouse’s IRS account who was not listed as the primary taxpayer on the return. We have seen the IRS accept jointly filed tax returns but then not be able to connect the tax return with the tax payment because the payment was made under the spouse’s social rather than the primary taxpayers. The IRS will keep the payment on the spouse’s account, but the IRS needs to be told to apply it to the joint tax return. Therefore, it may be easiest to make sure you make tax payments under the primary taxpayer’s social, which is the name of the person put first on the tax return.
Reason #5: The IRS Hasn’t Processed Your Return
And the fifth reason you haven’t received your refund check is that the IRS is slow and facing a backlog of tax returns, which is causing processing delays. As of December 2021, the IRS had 6 million unprocessed original tax returns and 2.3 million unprocessed amended returns.
If your return hasn’t been processed for this tax season, then there is nothing that can be done about this, at least not by you or your tax professional. So, the best thing you can do is to make sure your income tax refund isn’t held up for any of the other reasons listed.
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED TAX PROFESSIONAL
At DiLucci, our experienced team of tax professionals is here to help you with your tax needs. Our services include:
● Individual and business accounting
● Tax return preparation
● Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax resolution
● Business bookkeeping
● Financial analysis
● Cashflow management
● Tax planning
As always, we’re here to help. Click here to schedule a consultation with our office and we’ll follow up with you promptly.