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Common Tax Refund Concerns

May 28, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Every year the IRS hears some common questions and tax refund concerns.  Here some of those questions and answers regarding tax refunds from returns filed on various 1040 forms.  For a full list of frequently asked questions, visit www.irs.gov.

I received more than I should have because I made a mistake on my return.  I haven’t cashed my refund check yet. What should I do now?

Hopefully your mistake was caught during processing.  If so, a letter was included with the refund.  If not, you must file an amended or corrected return using Form 1040X as soon as possible.

How can I check the status of an amended return?

Contact the IRS assistance line at 803.829.1040 for information about processing the amendment.  Corrected returns can take up to 8-12 weeks to process.  Call the hotline if your amended refund hasn’t been received within 8 weeks.

How long does it take to receive a refund (if there are no mistakes)?

Your refund-return rate depends on the method you used for filing.  For example, if using an e-filing option for direct deposit, you can receive your refund within 3 weeks.  Using a paper refund and requesting a paper check can cause your refund to take up to 8 weeks. 

How do I check the status of a refund?

If you filed electronically or through TeleFile, you will be able to check the status of your return after 3 weeks.  If you filed a paper return, you have to wait 6 weeks to receive any refund information.  The easiest way to find information about your refund is to go to www.irs.gov, click the “Where’s My Refund” link, and then “Get My Refund Status.”  Or you can call the Refund Hotline at 800.829.1954.  With either option, you will need to have your current tax return available in order to enter your social security number, the filing status and the exact whole dollar amount of the refund.

Can a refund be used to pay other debts?

Law requires that state and federal agencies disclose to the IRS the names of taxpayers who are behind in support payments, taxes and loans.  Your tax refund may be sent directly to any agency with which you have delinquent payments.

Will the current year’s payment be directly applied to a payment plan for the prior year’s federal taxes?

If you participate in a payment plan for owed taxes, your agreement states that any refund due in a future year will be applied against the amount you owe.  The IRS will automatically apply the refund to any taxes and/or payments owed.  You are still indebted to repay any outstanding amounts after the refund.

Can I be issued a new refund check if the original is lost?

Call the IRS at 800.829.1954 if your refund check was lost or damaged.  A replacement can typically be issued within 6 to 8 weeks.

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