Still waiting for your refund
check from Uncle Sam?
If you just recently posted
your return, then you'll be biding your time a bit longer. But if you filed early
and are still without your tax cash, there are some steps you can take to track
Generally, the Internal Revenue Service says
if you filed electronically you should give its processors three weeks before
checking your return's status. If you mailed in a paper return, the agency says
it will take about double that -- six weeks -- before it can tell you exactly
where in the tax pipeline your refund is.
your fingers do the checking
Once you've waited the recommended
time, the easiest way to find out about your tax money is through calling the
IRS' automated refund service at 1 (800) 829-1954.
you do call, be ready to provide:
Social Security number. If it's a joint return, enter the first number shown on
- The filing status used.
The amount of your refund.
If the call reveals that the IRS is still working on
your refund, there could be several reasons.
most common causes of delay, according to the IRS, include math
errors, an address
change after filing the return, a name on the tax return that does not match
the Social Security records, failure
to sign the return or not sending the necessary
attachments such as W-2s or schedules.
of these things could cause your refund to be slowed by as much as eight more
if it's lost?
You called the status line and learned your check
was mailed several weeks ago, but it still hasn't shown up. What now?
time call the IRS help line at 1 (800) 829-1040. Be forewarned: Callers at this
time of the year (just after the tax filing deadline) are likely to get a recorded
message instead of personal help. In that case, try the IRS' How to Contact Us
Web page for local and regional agency addresses and numbers.
the IRS verifies your refund check is lost or stolen, the replacement process
will begin. You might be asked to complete Form
3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, to get the ball rolling.
When the check finally arrives, sometimes there
are more questions than answers.
If you get a
refund and you weren't expecting one, or the check is for more than you thought
you'd get, don't cash it. The IRS should send you a notice explaining the difference,
along with any additional information or instructions.
can call 1 (800) 829-1040 if you don't get an explanatory letter within two weeks
of getting your questionable refund.
On the other
hand, if your refund is less than you expected, go ahead and cash the check. If
further investigation reveals that you should have received more, the IRS will
make up the difference (plus a bit of interest if it takes more than 45 days to
correct the error) and send you another check for the balance due.
again, you can call the 800 number for clarification of your refund amount.
your bank account
The IRS has one final piece of advice for anxious
filers still looking for refund checks.
requested direct deposit, check your bank account regularly.
IRS will simply transfer the money to your financial institution without sending
you any other notification. It's up to you to find out if the refund is already
in your account.