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IRS Dispels Common Tax Refund Myths

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The IRS addressed the following common myths about tax refunds:

  • Myth 1: Calling the IRS or visiting an IRS office speeds up a refund. The best way to check the status of a refund is online through the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. Taxpayers can also call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.
  • Myth 2: Taxpayers need to wait for their 2020 return to be processed before filing their 2021 return. Taxpayers generally will not need to wait for their 2020 return to be fully processed to file their 2021 tax returns. They should file when they are ready. Individuals with unprocessed 2020 tax returns, should enter zero dollars for last year’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) on their 2021 tax return when filing electronically.
  • Myth 3: Taxpayers can get a refund date by ordering a tax transcript. Ordering a tax transcript will not inform taxpayers of the timing of their tax refund, nor will it speed up a refund being processed. Taxpayers can use a transcript to validate past income and tax filing status for mortgage, student and small business loan applications and to help with tax preparation.
  • Myth 4: “Where’s My Refund?” must be wrong because there is no deposit date yet. While the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it is possible a refund may take longer for a variety of reasons. Delays can be caused by simple errors including an incomplete return, transposed numbers, or when a tax return is affected by identity theft or fraud.
  • Myth 5: “Where’s My Refund?” must be wrong because a refund amount is less than expected. Different factors can cause a tax refund to be larger or smaller than expected. The IRS will mail the taxpayer a letter of explanation if these adjustments are made.
  • Myth 6: Calling a tax professional will provide a better refund date. Contacting a tax professional will not speed up a refund. Tax professionals cannot move up a refund date nor do they have access to any special information that will provide a more accurate refund date.
  • Myth 7: Getting a refund this year means there is no need to adjust tax withholding for 2022. Taxpayers should continually check their withholding and adjust accordingly. Adjusting tax withholding with an employer is easy and using the Tax Withholding Estimator tool can help taxpayers determine if they are withholding the right amount from their paycheck.

As of the week ending April 1, the IRS has sent out more than 63 million refunds worth over $204 billion. The IRS reminded taxpayers the easiest way to check on a refund is the “Where’s My Refund?” tool. This tool can be used to check the status of a tax return within 24 hours after a taxpayer receives their e-file acceptance notification. Taxpayers should only call the IRS tax help hotline to talk to a representative if it has been more than 21 days since their tax return was e-filed, or more than six weeks since mailing their return.