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Refund code does not mean audit

By Kay Bell ·
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Posted: 3 pm ET

Regardless of whether tax filing season starts on time or, as has been the case for the past few years, is delayed a bit, one thing doesn't change. There always are glitches.

This year, it's Internal Revenue Service code 1121 that's popping up when some taxpayers check on their refund via the agency's "Where's My Refund?" online tracking tool.

Taxpayers across the country report that when they filed, they got a confirmation of a refund. But a few days later when they checked on the status of their money, they got the numerical error notice.

Unfortunately, calls by those filers to the IRS produced confusing answers. So the IRS has issued an official statement about the error code.

Not an audit code

The good news is that a 1121 message does not mean you are being audited. That's just a rumor that's going around the Internet.

"This code is simply a reference number that our telephone representatives use to help them research your account," the IRS says on its website. If the IRS needs more information from code-affected filers in order to process their returns, it will contact the taxpayers, usually by mail.

The IRS isn't saying just how many of the more than 27 million returns it has received in just the first week of filing season are affected by the code. It's only characterizing the 1121 returns as a "very small percentage of taxpayers."

Of course, if you are in that group, it doesn't seem like a small problem.

Don't worry and keep calling

The IRS says not to worry. I know, easier said than done.

But veteran tax preparers say that the 1121 error is not unusual. It's typically an internal processing issue.

Now that the IRS knows the digits are being issued on some returns, it's working to determine whether it's a glitch or whether it does indeed need more info from some taxpayers.

Were you an early filer this year? Have you checked on your refund's status? Did you run into issues when checking on your refund status? Have you gotten your refund?

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Veteran contributing editor Kay Bell is the author of the book "The Truth About Paying Fewer Taxes" and co-author of the e-book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook."

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February 17, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Filed it takes got dd date. Was depositing into my girlfriend's bank account but because my name wasn't on it bank returned to irs. Got ref.1121 now they say under review.does that mean I am under audit? Or are those 2 different things.

February 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

I have this very code it's because my bank returned the funds and now have to be sent a paper check

February 07, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Audit and Review are 2 entirely different things...

February 20, 2014 at 2:41 pm

1121 meaning an audit is not a rumor...I was told by the phone rep when I called that it meant I was under "review" as were many others on the 1121 FB page.