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IRS refund locator on the fritz

By Kay Bell ·
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Posted: 2 pm ET

Taxpayers who are anxiously awaiting tax refunds have been even more disconcerted lately. When they go to check on the status of their refunds via the IRS' online tracking tool, Where's My Refund,  they are told that the agency has no record of their return.

Don't panic. If you e-filed and got an acknowledgement that your 1040 was accepted, the IRS has it.

The problem is with filters on the IRS computer system designed to catch fraudulent tax filings and protect taxpayers from tax-related identity theft. That's the same thing that last month the IRS blamed for delays in tax return processing.

Yes, even the IRS can fall prey to that old saying about no good deed going unpunished.

But the real question is, what about the taxpayers waiting on their refunds?

The best the IRS can do here is urge your patience.

"This is a temporary situation, and we expect to resolve the matter in a few days," the IRS says on the Where's My Refund website. "We expect the vast majority of tax refunds to continue to be issued within the historical range of 10 to 21 days. The IRS is taking steps to update information so that Where's My Refund has current information. The IRS apologizes for any inconvenience and will provide updated information as soon as possible."

And oh yeah, Uncle Sam really would appreciate it if you wouldn't call one of its other phone lines.

"Taxpayers should not call the IRS unless specifically directed by Where's My Refund, as there is no new information to give them," says the tax website.

Do I detect a little frustration on the IRS side, too? Welcome to the taxpayers' world.

And while I don't want to nag, maybe this will be a learning experience for filers. Consider adjusting your withholding so that you'll have your tax money during the year. That way you won't be at the mercy of IRS technology and its inevitable glitches.

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Onesphor Kyara
March 27, 2012 at 10:50 am

Unclaimed stimulus funds

February 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm

The IRS 'Where's My Refund' system is ALWAYS 'on the fritz'. The system never has, and likely never will, have the capacity to handle the demand.

"This is a temporary situation, and we expect to resolve the matter in a few days," the IRS says

Unless they consider the ENTIRE history of the IRS website 'a few days', this is a flat out LIE.