After people are finished filing their income taxes, the waiting game begins for many who are anticipating a refund. The Internal Revenue Service recently created a page on its website where Americans who filed could check the status of their refund. In recent days, however, the federal tax agency issued a plea to taxpayers to limit checking the website to once a day.
The IRS said its "Where's My Refund?" website and smartphone app are getting more activity than it can handle, with some people checking it several times a day, according to The Associated Press. The agency is also reminding people that its website is only updated once a day, and this usually occurs overnight. It also said that the same information can be retrieved by calling its toll free number, which can help eliminate unnecessary traffic on the website.
"I think what we're seeing is just part of the natural evolution in the refund process," IRS spokesman Terry Lemons told the AP. "Twenty-five years ago, you desperately checked the mailbox every day."
Individuals' fervent interest in checking their refund status may be the result of the IRS processing delay, which prohibited Americans from filing their taxes until January 30. The filing postponement allowed the IRS to update their systems to account for the changes to federal tax law that Congress enacted at the beginning of the year. However, many Americans who filed their taxes on this date are likely requesting their refunds to be processed quickly.
Why is the refund process taking so long?
Typically, individuals who file electronic returns can expect to receive money back in roughly 21 days. This process may take up to six weeks for those who file paper returns. However, there are some factors that may delay the process. For example, incorrect information, missing data or failing to provide sufficient documents may cause processing delays while the IRS tries to piece together what it needs to determine tax liability. To avoid these scenarios, filers should rely on a licensed tax preparer to complete their returns and asks questions if they are confused about whether they qualify for certain credits and deductions.
Refunds may also be delayed if individuals are facing certain circumstances. For example, bankruptcy, open audits or balances due for previous tax years can lead to slower processing times and affect the date in which individuals receive the amount they're owed.