It’s tax time again! It’s that time of year when those expecting a tax refund watch their bank accounts like a hawk or check their mailbox, waiting and wondering when that refund will arrive.
If you are due a refund, it’s natural to want to know when you’ll get it.
Every year though, myths about tax refunds abound, causing confusion and needless worry. Thanks to social media, texts, and instant messaging, these untruths spread faster and farther than ever before.
So let’s dispel these top five myths about your IRS refund now. You can get back to more important things… like relaxing and planning what to do with that refund once you get it.
#1 – The IRS Isn’t Sitting on Your Refund
Almost every year there is a rumor that all tax refunds will be delayed.
The IRS processes more than 200 million refunds (almost 240 million returns in 2015). Considering this, you’ll realize that tax refunds are actually quite swift. Nine out of 10 refunds got out within 21 days or less.
Now, some returns will be delayed. There are several reasons why this may happen, but the best way to check on your refund status is by going to the Where’s My Refund IRS website page.
#2 – Calling Doesn’t Help
The IRS does not work like a retail business. Requesting faster service with a phone call (or to your tax preparer) will not help you get your refund more quickly.
Remember that the IRS is government agency – so your refund must go through a process. Yes, it will happen, but there’s no way to know exactly when, except by accessing Where’s My Refund on the IRS website. You can also use the IRS Mobile App. Refund statuses are updated daily – usually overnight.
Unfortunately, talking to someone won’t give you new or different information from what you will find online. And there’s nothing flagging you for faster service if you do make a call.
#3 – There’s a Secret Way to Get My Refund Faster
This is simply not true. There’s no shortcut and no way to circumvent the refund process.
You can get your refund faster if you e-file and choose direct deposit. That’s mainly because you don’t have to wait for a check via snail mail.
#4 – The Earned Income Tax Credit Isn’t Paid on February 15th
Refunds which claim the earned income tax credit cannot be paid until February 15th. This does not mean that the refunds will go out on the 15th – those actually start on February 27th at the earliest.
Choosing direct deposit for your refund will help ensure you get it as soon as possible.
#5 – The IRS Won’t Be Calling You
It happens every year… tax scammers are out to fool you into giving up your money.
One common ploy is that someone claiming to be an IRS agent calls, stating that you owe money to the IRS and it needs to be paid now. If you don’t agree, scammers have even threatened to call the police and have you jailed. This same scam has also played out over email and via text as well.
This is not how the IRS works.
The IRS will never contact you by phone first. They will not send an email or text demanding money immediately. They will not threaten to call the police or ask for your personal financial information, your credit card number, or your bank account.
If someone calls you saying that you owe the IRS money right now, hang up. And if you get an email, delete it.
At SFS, we’re always here to answer any questions you may have about your taxes or the IRS. As an Enrolled Agent, Jeffrey Schneider, EA, CTRS, NTPIF, is federally authorized to represent you at all levels of the IRS.