If you have tried to talk with the IRS lately, you probably weren’t successful.
Last week, the IRS gave an update on its backlog. Normally, the IRS has about 1 million returns that are waiting to be processed when the new tax year begins. Currently, the IRS has about six times that many returns waiting to be processed. On top of that, there are other amended income tax returns and other payroll tax returns and amendments generated to claim Employee Retention Credits in their inbox. Congress also tasked them to manage the advanced child tax credits and continued economic recovery payment (or stimulus) payments which added to their workload. Inbound call volume increased fourfold while the workforce still feels impact of COVID, that resulted in the IRS only able to answer a fraction of the calls.
Refunds have been delayed which has led to the question “Where is my refund?” Your accountant can’t answer that question. Only the IRS can answer that and the IRS has warned that more people will be asking the question as refund processing delays continue. If you can’t talk to them, what should you do?
Thankfully, the IRS has prepared some online and application tools you can use to get an answer. Even if the answer is “Still in Process”, it is better to hear that quickly than after being on hold for three hours on the phone.
The first method is the IRS website, https://www.irs.gov. On the home page is a list of frequently asked topics under the “How can we help you?” Header. Click the “Get your Refund Status” and input some information from your tax return to identify yourself and get your answer. You can also find information about the advanced child tax credit you received and stimulus payments in 2021 that you will need to prepare your 2021 tax returns under other options in that menu.
The second method is to create an IRS account with ID.me (See the “Sign into Your Account” option). You are able get a whole bunch of information about your tax account, including your refund, after you go through the somewhat challenging account setup which includes uploading photo ID and a live selfie in addition to validation using a credit card and credit report. With this account setup, you can also use the IRS2Go app on your cell phone and make tax payments.
The third option is the least preferred, but is to call them. Plan on a long wait if you are lucky enough to not have the system tell you to try again later and hang up on you.
Use should also use direct deposit when claiming a refund as the process is much faster than issuing a check.
While we are all frustrated from the continued impact of the pandemic, may we continue to exercise patience and flexibility as we deal with others – including the IRS.
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