Here’s how long it will take to get your tax refund in 2022

Three-quarters of all Americans get an annual tax refund from the IRS, which is often a family’s biggest check in the year. But this tax season could see a repeat of last year’s grunts in processing, when around 30 million taxpayers have had their returns – and refunds – withheld by the IRS.

Treasury Department officials warned on Monday that this year’s tax season will be a challenge once the IRS begins processing returns on Jan. 24. This is largely due to the large backlog of IRS filings from 2021. As of December 23, the agency had 6 million unfinished individual filings – a significant reduction from a backlog of 30 million in May, but much higher than the million untreated returns which is more typical at the start of tax season.

That can make taxpayers nervous about delays in 2022, but most Americans are expected to get their refunds within 21 days of filing, the IRS said on Monday – with a few caveats.

For example, errors such as math problems or incorrectly indicating how much you received from child tax credit advance payments could result in your tax return being flagged, resulting in delays of several weeks or even several. month.

In the meantime, tax experts say there are steps taxpayers can take to ensure a quick tax refund, which is even more important this year given the IRS is starting with a backlog. National taxpayer lawyer Erin M. Collins on Wednesday released a report to Congress who warned she was “deeply concerned about the upcoming filing season” given the backlog, among other issues.

“The first thing you know if you’re going to cook a meal, you need to have the kitchen cleaned since the last meal,” said Mark W. Everson, vice president of Alliantgroup and former IRS commissioner. “It’s snowballing into a terrible situation.”

To compound the challenge, tax preparers told CBS MoneyWatch that it remains difficult to reach IRS staff by phone. Last year, the IRS responded to less than 30% of the calls it received, according to Treasury officials.

“In the old days, you would wait 5-10 minutes and call an IRS agent on the phone,” said Christian Cyr, CPA and president and chief investment officer at Cyr Financial. But now, he said, his CPAs have been waiting hours to speak with an IRS employee, with no guarantees of reaching one.

Keeping your tax returns running smoothly has a long way to go, given that the average refund last year was around $ 2,800. Below is advice from tax experts and the IRS on how to get a tax refund within 21 days of filing.

File electronically

This is a step that the IRS strongly encourages this year. While some people may just like to file paper returns – and others may no choice – the agency says taxpayers who file electronically are more likely to have their returns processed quickly.

This is because the IRS relies on computers to electronically process filed returns, while paper returns must be processed by human employees. In the first days of the pandemic, the IRS closed its offices and employees stopped opening mail, delaying the processing of paper returns.

Even outside of the pressure on employees due to the pandemic, IRS staff have not kept up with population growth. The agency’s workforce is now the same size as in 1970, despite population growth of 60%. This means fewer workers to handle a greater volume of returns.

About 10 million people filed paper returns last year, or about 7% of the 148 million returns filed in 2021, according to data from the Taxpayer Advocate Service. Tax experts are urging people to join the roughly 138 million taxpayers who already use e-filing.

“The paper is IRS Kryptonite, and the agency is still buried there,” National taxpayer lawyer Collins said Wednesday.

Get your refund by direct deposit

The IRS also recommends that taxpayers make arrangements to get their refunds through direct deposit. The agency says the fastest way to get your money is through the combination of electronic deposit and direct deposit, which sends the money to your bank account.

About 95 million people received refunds last year, of which about 87 million opted for direct deposit. Most taxpayers who file electronically and choose direct deposit will get their refund within 21 days, assuming there is no problem with the return, according to the IRS.

Do not guess

The IRS checks its data against the numbers that taxpayers detail in their returns. If there is a discrepancy – let’s say your W2 shows you earned $ 60,000, but you write on the statement that you earned $ 58,000 – the statement is flagged for manual review by an employee.

Once this happens, it is likely that your tax return will be delayed by weeks or even months. That is why tax professionals advise people to check forms carefully to make sure they are reporting data accurately. Completing your tax return shouldn’t depend on “word of mouth or the honor system,” Cyr said. “I guarantee you will cause delays.”

Save IRS Letters on Stimulus, CTC

In that sense, the IRS is sending letters this month to taxpayers who received the third federal stimulus check in 2021, as well as the Advance Child tax credit payments.

These letters will inform each taxpayer of what they received through these programs in 2021 – these are important documents to keep as you will want to refer to these amounts when completing your tax return.

One of the main reasons that tax returns were delayed in 2021 is that taxpayers made errors in reporting their stimulus payment amounts for 2020 on their returns, which resulted in their tax returns being flagged. income for manual review.

“Do not have any problems caused by your own negligence,” advised Everson.

The IRS will send two letters:

  • Letter 6419 – advising taxpayers of their CTC advance payments. The agency began sending these letters in December and will continue to do so in January.
  • Letter 6475 – about the third dunning check. This letter will be sent at the end of January.

Keep those two letters and consult them when you file your tax return, the tax experts said.

You could face a delay if you claim these tax credits

There are a few issues that can cause delays, even if you’re doing everything right.

The IRS notes that it cannot issue a refund involving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Child Tax Credit until mid-February. “The law provides for this extra time to help the IRS prevent the issuance of fraudulent refunds,” the agency said this week.

This means that if you file as soon as possible on January 24, you still might not receive a refund within the 21-day period if your tax return involves any of these tax credits.

The reason is linked to a 2015 law this slows down refunds for people who claim these credits, which was intended as a measure to tackle fraudsters who rely on identity theft to collect refunds from taxpayers.

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