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Homebuyer credit refunds by April 5

By Kay Bell · Bankrate.com
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

 If you're still waiting for your tax refund because the Internal Revenue Service had a problem with your repayment of the 2008 first-time homebuyer credit, you can expect your money by April 5.

Really. That's the official word from the IRS.

OK, the IRS says that target date "assumes that there are no other issues with their return, and that their refunds are not subject to any offsets for unpaid federal taxes or other debts."

And the agency adds that some of the tax refund checks might be sent out the second full week in April.

But the IRS says it now has the computer glitch that caused the delay under control. The bottom line is that the IRS is trying to get refunds out to taxpayers before this year's filing deadline arrives.

The IRS finally created a special Web page to address the concerns of taxpayers who are experiencing delays in their return processing, and associated refunds, because of 2008 first-time homebuyer payback claims.

When asked about the situation earlier this week, the agency was a bit vague in its responses, saying only a "small percentage" of taxpayers were affected. The IRS still isn't elaborating on just how many returns have been held up. But it appears that questions about the situation from Bankrate and others finally have resulted in some other details.

The most important piece of news is, of course, the projected April 5 refund target date.

The IRS also elaborated on the processing problem with the returns, which were from married filing jointly taxpayers who filed their 1040s before Feb. 22. These returns caused problems because they included out-of-the-ordinary repayments of the original first-time homebuyer credit, which was in reality a 15-year no-interest loan.

Two types of paybacks clogged up the IRS computers:

  • Taxpayers who reported the sale or disposition of their home, meaning they had to pay back the credit in full, and
  • Taxpayers who sent in more than the minimum $500 payment amount.

IRS computers weren't equipped to deal with anything other than the basic payback schedule, which is $500 a year for the next 15 tax-filing years. That meant that all these atypical returns have to be manually entered into the IRS system.

Meanwhile it is updating it computer system again so that it, not actual IRS employees, can handle all types of homebuyer credit paybacks.

And oh yeah, the IRS wants you to please quit calling it about your refund. It knows you're anxious to get your money. But it suggests you use its online refund tracking tool to find out its status.

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7 Comments
Jan
April 26, 2011 at 7:04 am

I called the IRS today. After e-filing on February 18th, they have pushed my refund "expected date" back again (for the 4th time) to the middle of May. Frankly, they're all a bunch of incompetent government liars. I will make sure this is the LAST time I get a refund. I've had my withholding lowered and the "extra" put away in a separate account for money that I will owe them next year. They'll get the money I owe on April 15th and not a day sooner.

mel
April 20, 2011 at 4:44 am

here it is April 20th and as my third date for release has come and gone I now have no faith in anything the government says! I don't know anyone who has their refund back that also had this April 5 th date.

jackie
April 01, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I called them today and was told that there programming issue has moved back the date to the end of April... and it's not only the married or jointly filed couples, I'm single. The guy even told me that last month they were told to say a month and this month they were told to say by the end of April. Makes me wonder what they are going to say next.

Renay
March 31, 2011 at 3:33 am

I am not married, NOR did I file a joint return and I am still stuck with no refund thanks to the 5405 form. I think that is just a lame IRS excuse and there is something bigger going on here they don't want to admit. Hence the vague responses. Either way I will believe the 5 April date when I see it as I've been promised three other dates so far and nothing has shown up.

Dan
March 30, 2011 at 10:17 am

Same here. Filed on February 16th. Still nothing and the IRS has no answers.

Bobby
March 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

thats still not the whole truth, we are in the small group and repying the FTHBC. But our repayment was $172.00 and we still own the house so thats BS. we are stuck on code 1301. We filed 2-14, had to wait 3 weeks to even file because they were updating their computors for this, excepted on 2-15 and delayed 3-2 with code 1301. so what is the problem with ours it doesn't fall into the 2 areas they mentioned?

Check this site out on facebook 2011 Tax Refund Delays (5405 form, 1301 or 1481 Error codes)

Kristina
March 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Unfortunately, there are many of us on a FB page about this, many of us are not filing joint returns. Many of us filed single or HOH in '08, and the same this year but we are still delayed as well.