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Tax Filing Deadline – 5 Common Tax Refund Myths

As the deadline to file tax returns is finally among us, there are some new and some familiar myths circulating regarding refund details and the speeding up of tax refunds. As DSJ gets prepared for next year, let’s take a look at five of the most common tax return misconceptions.

Myth #1 – Calling a Tax Professional Will Speed Up Your Refund

Unfortunately when it comes to tax refunds, there is not anything accountants and other tax professionals can do once the tax work leaves their hands and is in for review by the IRS. Refund dates can not be moved up by accountants and they do not have any access to information that the taxpayer does not already have. It is almost certain that your accountant will give you the same refund date and amount that the “Where’s my Refund?” tool provides.

Myth #2 – The “Where’s My Refund?” tool is wrong because there is no deposit date

It is a common idea that the IRS issues most refunds within 21 days. However, there are several exceptions to this, such as a return needing further review or being incomplete. Other factors such as suspected identity theft or fraud can play into the delays as well. Additionally, it is important to note the “Where’s my Refund?” tool only updates once a day at most, so checking multiple times a day is not necessary.

Myth #3 – All Refunds are Delayed due to the Number of Backlogged Returns from 2020

It is very well known that the IRS has an extraordinary amount of 2020 returns on the backlog, but this still should not delay your refund. Furthermore, if your 2020 return is still being processed, this does not mean that your 2021 return has to wait to be processed. The reasons a 2020 return is still being processed can be for a wide variety of reasons such as the lack of employment at the IRS,  the return has errors, or needs to be reviewed further.  2021 is an entirely new filing year which means that if all 2021 information was provided correctly on your return then your refund should be on time.

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Myth #4 – Visiting or Calling an IRS Office Will Speed up a Refund

While Taxpayer Assistance Centers and other IRS offices can be seen as helpful, there are other resources out there that will tell you the same information. The IRS2Go mobile app will provide you with information regarding your refund status, as well as the “Where’s my Refund?” tool previously mentioned. If a taxpayer doesn’t have internet access, they can call the IRS automated refund hotline. Taxpayer Assistance Centers usually require an appointment and inquiring about a refund at one of these centers would not speed up the process.

Myth  #5 – Getting a Refund This Year Means There’s No Need to Adjust Withholding for 2022

Continually monitoring withholding and adjusting accordingly is a smart idea for taxpayers. Taxpayers can easily adjust with an employer and use the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator to determine if they are withholding the right amount each paycheck. As usual, a life-altering event like marriage, divorce, having a child, or purchasing a home are all things that warrant checking withholding. Check with your accountant and advisor if any major income change is expected, as withholding takes place throughout the entire year.

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