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Why is IRS withholding my tax refund?

Taxes » Tax Refund » Why Is IRS Withholding My Tax Refund?

George SaenzDear Tax Talk,
I read Kay Bell's blog post about the tax refunds being delayed and also your column where someone had to make several phone calls and was to mail the forms to Fresno, Calif.

I, too, have the same issues. I did my taxes and e-filed Feb. 2 and was also accepted, and the same thing happened to me. The "where's my tax refund" status changed, and when this happened, I contacted the Internal Revenue Service by phone. They claimed to have not received my tax return. So I contacted them again and was told I needed to send my forms to Fresno, Calif. So I did that and waited a couple of weeks. I even went to the IRS office located here and was told that my return was submitted and denied several times, and I explained then what I was told over the phone. They told me to wait four weeks then call the IRS again. So I did. So they claimed they never received my forms, and so I went back to the local IRS office and was told that my return was processing and to wait until July 1, and if I have not heard anything by then, to go back to the local agency.

So I called the IRS again because by now I am getting really upset and want to know what is going on. They told me I needed to wait until July 15. I feel I am being lied to by both the IRS on the phone and the IRS agency located in my city. Is there any way I can contact someone to get answers? This runaround has gone on for too long. Is there something I need to do, or am I going to continue to play this waiting and lying game? I am behind on payments because of this. If you can please help me find something out, I would greatly appreciate this. Thank you for your time in reading this.
-- Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,
I doubt the IRS is lying to you, but the situation you describe is quite odd. It may be that your tax refund is delayed because you are the victim of identity theft. In the case of the IRS, this means somebody else submitted a tax return with your name and Social Security number. You should ask for a copy of your account transcript to review the activity surrounding your account. If you e-filed on Feb. 2, there should be no reason to keep submitting your forms on paper unless there was another tax return posted to your account. An account transcript will reveal these details.

In the meantime, you can get the ball rolling by filing IRS Form 911. By submitting this form, you'll get the personalized attention of an IRS employee that is trained to cut through the bureaucratic mess. You can fax this form to a taxpayer advocate at the IRS using the appropriate number for your state or take it to your local office. IRS Publication 1546 provides an overview of the advocate function.

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