IRS says the sequester won't delay tax processing, refunds

Many tax filers are concerned about the speed with which their income tax forms will be processed and the length of time it may take to receive their refunds. The Internal Revenue Service delayed the beginning of tax season to January 30 while it made updates to its systems to take tax code changes into account. Some people - such as those filing certain credits and deductions - were required to wait an additional time period before meeting with their tax preparer and submitting their forms.

More recently, news of across-the-board spending cuts, known as the sequester, have concerned many individuals that their refunds may be delayed even more. However, the IRS made an announcement that it does not expect any disruptions in processing times or sending out refunds. In a letter to employees obtained by ABC News, IRS Commissioner Steven Miller wrote that many of the sequester changes will take account after tax season, which will allow the agency to continue processing returns. In addition, he noted that the spending cuts may actually lead to fewer audits.

Checking the status of a tax refund
Filers who submitted their taxes via mail or electronically and have not received a refund have several ways of checking to see if their returns have been processed. For example, the IRS's "Where's My Refund?" webpage allows individuals to check the status of their returns and obtain information about when they can expect to receive a check or direct deposited funds. Those who filed electronic returns may be able to access this information as early as 72 hours after the IRS receives their return, while those who file paper documents may need to wait between three or four weeks for receipt confirmation. In order to access refund information through the IRS website, taxpayers will need to provide their Social Security or Tax Identification number, filing status and the exact whole dollar refund amount found on the return. Individuals may also be able to check their status via the IRS "Where's My Refund" mobile application. 

There may also be several reasons that returns can be delayed, such as incorrect information or miscalculations that the IRS must correct. While taxpayers may be able to make some corrections - such as providing the right address - online, working with a licensed tax preparer can help individuals avoid simple tax mistakes that cause processing disruptions. 

Liberty Tax Service (NASDAQ: TAX) has prepared over 2 million tax returns in 2012 alone and has over 4,100 offices in the United States and Canada. As the fastest growing tax franchise ever, Liberty Tax's total revenues grew to $109.1 million last tax season. Liberty Tax stands behinds community enrichment efforts by sponsoring various non-profit organizations and urging their employees and franchisees to give back to their communities.

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