Where Is My Refund?

accounting, taxesContributed by Monika Knapp, Accounting Program Chair, Globe University

Tax season is approaching!  Those of us who may be getting a refund are anxious to see those dollars return to our bank accounts.  The question is how soon can we file and how soon can we expect to receive my refund?  Globe University Accounting students are keeping an eye on all the changes and want to give you a heads up on what is happening.

At the end of each tax year, the Internal Revenue Service will typically indicate a date that they will begin accepting tax returns.  In October of 2011, the IRS anticipated that they would open electronic filing on January 22nd 2013.  However, due to the lengthy debate about the fiscal cliff, the IRS changed the opening of filing season for BOTH paper and E-filed tax returns to January 30th, 2013 for 2012 tax returns. Per the IRS website “This is due in part to an extensive set of tax changes in ATRA on January 1, 2013 with many affecting tax returns for 2012.  While the IRS worked to anticipate the late tax law changes as much as possible, the final law required that the IRS update forms and instructions as well as make critical processing system adjustments before it can begin accepting tax returns”.

Many of us have probably received our pertinent 1099s, W-2s and other tax related paperwork by now.  Due to the incredible efficiencies created by manytaxes, accounting software packages, it is much easier to get these needed forms long before the filing requirement of January 31st.  In fact, I had one client that received the W-2s for their company (they use a large payroll processing administrator) by January 3rd!  Upon receipt of these delicious forms many race to their computer to start plugging the numbers in order to quickly get that much anticipated refund.  With the plethora of electronic tax sources out there, it is estimated that more than 80% of households will file electronically.  But now we wait!  You may have passed all the error checks in your software, but the one big thing you haven’t been able to do is get the confirmation that the IRS has accepted your return.  That is because it isn’t January 30th.

For a few brave souls, rather than wait the extra days (especially if you had your refund calculated by January 10th), the option would be to file a paper version. Nice try, but that’s not going to work either.  That tax return will sit in limbo on a desk somewhere until January 30th when the official buzzer goes off.  In fact, if you file it via paper ahead of January 30th, your refund may take even longer than waiting to file it January 30th.

So what is a tax payer to do?  My advice is to be patient and file electronically!  For those of you brave enough to push the send button on the 30th, patience will be warranted at this time as well.  There are many others that will be doing the same.  Happy Filing!