Nothing stays the same forever, and that’s also true of the IRS. That’s why, if you’re looking for the IRS Refund Cycle Chart for 2012 or later, you won’t find one. For tax year 2011 and earlier, there was always a refund schedule, which was popular with taxpayers who eagerly awaited their IRS refund. Use to be, you could look up your IRS acceptance date (the official date on which the IRS acknowledged receiving your federal tax return), and you’d know approximately the date your refund would be sent out. What caused this refund cycle to get disrupted, rendering the chart useless?
Blame it on Tax Fraud & Identity Theft
You may have heard about the occasional prison scam, where prisoners were filing bogus tax returns using stolen social security numbers. They’d have the IRS refund sent to their own bank account, thus making a nice little profit. This is identity theft and tax fraud, and it’s been on the rise. To combat this type of crime, the IRS put into place various checks and red flag alerts on tax returns. If a return gets flagged as possibly fraudulent then it will be pulled aside for more scrutiny. The first year of implementation of this fraud alert system caused a total breakdown in the IRS Refund Cycle Chart. Some returns were flagged and of course some weren’t. Taxpayers could no longer trust the IRS Refund Cycle Chart, since not everyone’s tax return goes through the system in the same way anymore.
The New System is Better
Now we have the IRS Refund Tracker. Since one size doesn’t fit all anymore, the IRS is now giving personalized information regarding federal income tax refunds. Now, you simply go to the IRS website’s refund tracker page and log in. To log into the IRS website, you’ll need your social security number, your filing status, and some info from that year’s income tax return. Also very important: don’t try to track your IRS refund anywhere online except the IRS website. Look at the address and make sure it has irs.gov in it.
About How long Does it Take To Get My IRS Refund?
Now that any number of things can delay your IRS refund as the IRS puts more checks an balances into the process, it really does vary case by case. On top of that, things like the tax law changes that were voted into effect in January 2013 caused delays as well. With the new laws and tax codes enacted by congress, programmers at the IRS had to really scramble to get their systems reprogrammed in time for the opening of the tax season. This could happen every year or not, depending on how radically tax codes are altered by Congress. For example, people who claimed green energy credits for tax year 2012 couldn’t file until a month after the official opening of tax season, January 30, 2013.
But if nothing in your tax return flags the IRS computers and there is absolutely no delays in processing your return, the IRS gives a general time frame of 21 days. Some get lucky and get their IRS refund even faster. The most important thing to remember is that it’s going to take time for your refund to get to you. Don’t count on it to pay bills and don’t panic when you don’t have it within 10 days. The old days of the IRS Refund Cycle Chart are over and now we have to let the IRS deal with new laws and tax fraud.