Millions of American citizens are still waiting for their federal tax refunds to come to their mailboxes or their bank accounts many months after meeting the May 17 filing date.
And for many people, the wait could go on for a lot longer. As of early Sept., the IRS was still working on 8.5 million returns.
In a normal year, the agency takes around three weeks to go through returns and give refunds. But this is not the typical year. Even an advocacy group formed to help American taxpayers has been overwhelmed by the tax backlog.
If you have been waiting on your refund to help pay for household expenses or pay off debt, you might have to find other options.
How much longer?
The IRS has not been able to deal with the backlog because of Covid-related reasons: a shortage in the workforce, technology limits and a large amount of unprocessed 2019 paper returns.
They report all error-free returns which they got before April have been processed, but the agency is still working on the ones that require a manual reviewed because of mistakes.
In some cases, the IRS reports it might take up to 120 days to give refunds due to it having to correct “significant errors on returns compared to previous years.”
Many of these errors are connected to the child credit, not having enough information or possible identity theft or fraudulent activity.
Returns are done in the order they are sent in, reports the IRS, which is attempting to minimize delays by moving returns and taxpayer letters from facilities that are overwhelmed to ones where there is more staff available to process the returns.
What else can you do about your check?
The IRS gives little advice to Americans other than to stay patient.
“Our goal is to increase our response ability and assist taxpayers as fast as possible, but we ask for understanding as we go through our backlog and continue to give high levels of service that American taxpayers deserve,” a spokesperson for the agency says.
The IRS says that taxpayers can look up their own refund status by going to the “Where’s My Refund” section on its website.
Author: Blake Ambrose