Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

Your IRS Tax Season Questions Answered Part I

Where’s my refund? Why does it take so long for me to get the money? What is this IRS form 5071(c) notice? What does it mean? With less than 50 days left to file your tax return, here’s some helpful information for getting these common tax season questions answered.

Where’s my refund?

If you’re anxiously awaiting your tax refund, you can track it on the IRS website using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. You’ll just need your Social Security Number or your Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your filing status and your exact refund amount. You can start tracking your refund 24 hours after the IRS receives your e-filed tax return or 4 weeks after mailing in your paper return.

Why does it take so long for me to get the money?

The IRS usually issues most refunds (9 out of 10, to be exact) in less than 21 days after your return is received. But it could take longer if your return requires more review. “Where’s My Refund?” updates once a day, usually at night. You should only call the IRS if it’s been longer than 21 days since you e-filed your return, it’s been more than 6 weeks since you mailed your paper return or if “Where’s My Refund?” tells you to call the IRS.

Identity theft    

Suddenly a random letter from the IRS (a 5071(c) letter) appears in your mailbox. It will direct you to an IRS website or a toll-free telephone number to verify your identity. This happens when someone else files a tax return with your Social Security Number and the IRS thinks it looks suspicious. If you are lucky enough to actually get through to the IRS, you may be asked very random questions, such as your mortgage provider in 2004? You’ll probably end up having to send in Form 14039, the identity theft affidavit verification form with copies of your personal identification.

Unfortunately, you can’t really fix this problem since you have been hit with tax return identity theft. Instead, the IRS will issue you a new electronic pin number each year that must be included when filing your return to prove that it’s really you.

If all else fails, or if you just don’t have the time to deal with these matters, contact your CPA. We’re here to help.

Melinda Nelson, CPA