refunds2012If you were among the many Americans who filed in February for a refund, your refund check was probably delayed. A new electronic filing system put in place by the IRS (named Modernized E-Filing, or MeF for short) contained processes that were broken resulting in delayed refunds. Instead of getting a refund in about a week like expected in prior years, taxpayers have been experiencing their refunds taking up to three weeks or more for returns filed in February. Taxbrain was one of the first to address these refund delays with the IRS. Taxbrain revealed with tax industry leaders and the IRS about taxpayers who were not able to see their refund status on “Where’s My Refund,” and addressed concerns about the lack of information from IRS phone help. Taxbrain was very animate with the IRS that there was some correlation between the new MeF filing system and the refunds that were not being process, and demanded that the IRS look into the matter. Taxbrain stated to the IRS, “Our tech support people (at Taxbrain.com) were getting calls from taxpayers who were worried about their returns. When the taxpayer called the IRS for the status of a return that was filed over three days ago, the IRS would tell users that they had no record of a return every being filed and to get with your software company to see what’s going on.” Of course our clients, along with other taxpayers across America and us at Taxbrain, were concerned about what the IRS told them over the phone. Because of Taxbrain’s efforts in addressing our concerns with the IRS, the IRS did an internal review their processes and found major issues from returns. Initially, the IRS stated MeF was working just fine (which technically they were right). Returns that were filed through this new MeF system did get filed at the IRS in record times with fewer reject levels compare to prior years. However, the IRS was initially blind to the fact that even though returns were filed, that many of these returns were not sent on to be processed. After an internal evaluation of the processes at the IRS, it was found that filed returns were just sitting in a holding area at the IRS without being further processed! Also, the IRS admitted that the personnel responding to phone calls didn’t have the tools to see that returns were accepted and filed (they only saw returns proceeded for refunds). The IRS has stated that they have now fixed the processes involved with filing and processing of returns. Daily monitoring has been added to make sure every filed return makes to their processing department. The earlier backlog of returns from February that needed processing are now current. Furthermore, the IRS is looking at giving their personnel (phone help) updated tools so that way they give the most current and correct responses. You may have noticed that for the last week the “Where’s My Refund” tool located on the IRS was down for maintenance. As of February 22, 2012, the IRS has stated that “Where’s My Refund” is now current and operational for taxpayers that want to find the status of their refunds. Please keep in mind that you can check the status of your refund after 72 hours (3 days) of being electronically filed. Not using Taxbrain yet? Visit Taxbrain.com today and sign up for a free account! Vincent Mangiapane, EA Federal Analyst, Taxbrain