Category Archives: Tax Refund

Why is my 2014 tax refund still processing

Why is my 2014 refund still processing?

2014 IRS Tax Refund Schedule wrong for you?

By the stats, the current tax season has been quite a success. The Internal Revenue Service is reporting that, despite an abbreviated season, they are processing tax returns and issuing tax refunds at a much faster pace than last year. Why is my 2014 refund still processing?

Of course, all of the numbers in the world don’t matter when the one number you’re counting on – your own refund – is affected.

This season, I’ve heard from a number of taxpayers experiencing tax refund delays (though certainly nothing near last year’s education credit snafu). Initially, the trouble seemed to focus on those 1121 codes. The IRS was made aware of the problem and did issue a statement, saying:

A very small percentage of taxpayers may see an 1121 reference number if they check “Where’s My Refund?” after they initially were provided a projected refund date by the tool. The IRS is aware of this situation, and emphasizes that the small group of taxpayers who see this reference number should continue checking Where’s My Refund for an update. If we need more information to process their return, we will contact them — usually by mail.

Most of the taxpayers who reached out to me regarding the 1121 issue have since reported that they’ve either received their refunds or updated information about the delay.

However, shortly after the 1121 issue was made public, the focus from taxpayers on social media – and in emails, direct messages and private messages to me – has zeroed in on another code that’s popping up over and over: TC 570. There is a notable difference between the 1121 code and the TC 570: the latter is not an explicit refund code. It appears not on the “Where’s My Refund?” tool but on a taxpayer’s transcript. That’s an important distinction.

I reached out to IRS to find out whether there was any sort of systemic issue causing taxpayers to see a TC 570 on their transcript. So far, the answer to that question is no. The IRS is, however, clearly aware of the concerns and had this to say:

A Transaction Code 570 can mean different things in different cases so a taxpayer should not try to draw a conclusion based on the presence of a TC 570. The Transaction Code 570 will stop a refund from being issued until the impact of the action being taken on the account and the refund is determined and processed. Transaction Codes are used internally by the IRS to identify a transaction, adjust and research tax accounts and to maintain a history of actions posted to a taxpayer’s account. While they are reflected on transcripts they are not reflected on most public facing documents or tools like Where’s My Refund because they are difficult to interpret and can have different meaning depending on the case and associated codes and files. Again, the best way for taxpayers to check the status of their refund is by going to Where’s My Refund.

It’s a statement worth repeating. The IRS uses a lot of internal codes on transcripts and they can mean different things. And what it means exactly isn’t always apparent to the person taking the call at IRS. Does that suck? Of course it does. Trust me. I’ve been on the end of those calls trying to decipher what’s going on for taxpayers. And I totally believe that taxpayers are calling IRS and getting two or three different answers about the status of their refund. And I believe that taxpayers deserve a better answer.

But I would caution taxpayers not to try and pick apart their tax transcripts in an effort to find answers. There is no “one size fits all” answer to the TC 570 – not even in the best of circumstances. It does not necessarily equate, as some have surmised, an audit. Nor does it means, as others have posited, that the refund is subject to an offset. It could mean those things – but again, you’re not going to be able to tell from a glimpse at your transcript this early in the season.

Those codes? They don’t always mean what you think they mean.

I know that isn’t the answer that taxpayers want to hear. And trust me, I am continuing to pester IRS about these issues (believe me when I say that they have my number). But it’s not a certainty that a TC 570 on your transcript is anything sinister at this stage of the season. The data doesn’t appear to support it. And if there’s a real problem with your specific return, you’ll hear from IRS.

And yes, there have been problems. I have confirmed reports that a glitch in at least one program has resulted in the issuance of paper checks instead of direct deposit. Errors – mostly transposition of numbers – have slowed processing of other returns. There have been bounces for bad addresses. Returns have been held because of prior years when no returns were filed. And yes, identity theft continues to be a big problem especially when SocialSecurity numbers for dependents have appeared on more than one return. Clearly, not everyone is having a smooth tax season.

By the numbers, however, most taxpayers are getting their refunds as quickly as anticipated. On average, the IRS expects to issue tax refund checks to 9 of 10 taxpayers in 21 days or less. Those are pretty good odds. But that still means that 1 in 10 taxpayers will receive refund checks after that 21 day window. That sounds like a pretty small number until you calculate the total against the number of refunds issued. The IRS expects to process about 140 million tax returns this season. In 2013, they issued more than 100 million tax refund checks. If 1 in 10 taxpayers get their refunds after 21 days, that still works out to about 10 million taxpayers. That’s more than the individual populations of 42 states. It’s more than the combination populations of Alabama and South Carolina, the 23rd and 24th most populous states. So, yes, it’s a lot. But the number of taxpayers who do receive their refunds within that 21 day window? That’s more than the combined populations of our most populous states (California, Texas and Florida) or more astoundingly, the combined population of 25 of our least populous states.

Does that help those taxpayers who are depending on refund checks that have not yet been deposited? Of course not. I know you want your money. And I know that in many cases, you’re depending on that money. But work through the right channels. Keep checking the “Where’s My Refund?” tool for information. If you are advised to call the IRS, do so. If you get mail from IRS, open it. But at this stage, it truly is a waiting game. If I hear anything further (and I am pursuing these issues), rest assured that I will post it as soon as it becomes available.

Discuss this and more on the Income Tax Forums.

Need help preparing your 2014 Tax Return? Visit Hot Springs Tax Services.

IRS already cut billions in tax refund checks

Millions of taxpayers have already received big refund checks, as the 2014 tax filing season seems to be humming along without a hitch. IRS issuing many refund checks already.

The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it issued $64.5 billion in refunds to 19.5 million taxpayers as of Feb. 7, a total dollar amount that was up 24% from the same time last year. The average refund check issued this year, $3,317, is also 4.6% larger than last year.
It’s not too surprising that this filing season is running more smoothly than last year, when the IRS lagged the previous year’s pace for issuing refunds throughout most of the filing season. The agency had to put off accepting certain tax forms until as late as March because it was updating its systems following the tax-code revamps caused by the fiscal-cliff legislation.

But taxpayers are also submitting their returns more quickly. The IRS received more than 27 million returns as of Feb. 7, up 2.5% from the same time in 2013. Nearly 96% of those were filed electronically. Samuel Hale, 21, a college student near Fort Worth, Texas, says his refund was deposited into his checking account Friday morning, a week after he filed his return electronically using online software. “I was very surprised,” says Hale, who couldn’t file his return until April last year because of a missing W-2 form.

In an interesting shift, the data shows more taxpayers are doing their own returns so far this tax season. Roughly half of the returns submitted, or 13.3 million, were self prepared, up 14.7% from last year. Typically, about 60% of returns are handled by a tax pro, according to IRS data.

Of course, not all taxpayers have been able to file their returns yet. Some people are still waiting on paperwork from their brokers, employers or colleges that they need to report all income and claim certain tax breaks. And some people aren’t eager to file their returns. Taxpayers who need to cut a check to the IRS generally wait until closer to April 15 to file.

Taxpayers can track their refunds using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool starting 24 hours after filing electronically, or four weeks after mailing in a return. About 90% of refunds are issued within 21 days, though some may be delayed if there is an issue with the return.

Discuss this and more on the Income Tax Forums.

2014 tax breaks: Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year end

WASHINGTON – In an almost annual ritual, Congress is letting a package of 55 popular tax breaks expire at the end of the year, creating uncertainty — once again — for millions of individuals and businesses.

Lawmakers let these tax breaks lapse almost every year, even though they save businesses and individuals billions of dollars. And almost every year, Congress eventually renews them, retroactively, so taxpayers can claim them by the time they file their tax returns.

2014 tax breaks: Congress letting 55 tax breaks expire at year endNo harm, no foul, right? After all, taxpayers filing returns in the spring won’t be hurt because the tax breaks were in effect for 2013. Taxpayers won’t be hit until 2015, when they file tax returns for next year.

Not so far. Trade groups and tax experts complain that Congress is making it impossible for businesses and individuals to plan for the future. What if lawmakers don’t renew the tax break you depend on? Or what if they change it and you’re no longer eligible?

“It’s a totally ridiculous way to run our tax system,” said Rachelle Bernstein, vice president and tax counsel for the National Retail Federation. “It’s impossible to plan when every year this happens, but yet business has gotten used to that.”

Some of the tax breaks are big, including billions in credits for companies that invest in research and development, generous exemptions for financial institutions doing business overseas, and several breaks that let businesses write off capital investments faster.

Others are more obscure, the benefits targeted to film producers, race track owners, makers of electric motorcycles and teachers who buy classroom supplies with their own money.

There are tax rebates to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands from a tax on rum imported into the United States, and a credit for expenses related to railroad track maintenance.

A deduction for state and local sales taxes benefits people who live in the nine states without state income taxes. Smaller tax breaks benefit college students and commuters who use public transportation.

A series of tax breaks promote renewable energy, including a credit for power companies that produce electricity with windmills.

The annual practice of letting these tax breaks expire is a symptom a divided, dysfunctional Congress that struggles to pass routine legislation, said Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, a senior Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

“It’s not fair, it’s very hard, it’s very difficult for a business person, a company, to plan, not just for the short term but to do long-term planning,” Lewis said. “It’s shameful.”

With Congress on vacation until January, there is no chance the tax breaks will be renewed before they expire. And there is plenty of precedent for Congress to let them expire for months without addressing them. Most recently, they expired at the end of 2011, and Congress didn’t renew them for the entire year, waiting until New Year’s Day 2013 — just in time for taxpayers to claim them on their 2012 returns.

But Congress only renewed the package though the end of 2013.

Why such a short extension? Washington accounting is partly to blame. The two-year extension Congress passed in January cost $76 billion in reduced revenue for the government, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. Making those tax breaks permanent could add $400 billion or more to the deficit over the next decade.

With budget deficits already high, many in Congress are reluctant to vote for a bill that would add so much red ink. So, they do it slowly, one or two years at time.

“More cynically, some people say, if you just put it in for a year or two, then that keeps the lobbyists having to come back and wine-and-dine the congressmen to get it extended again, and maybe make some campaign contributions,” said Mark Luscombe, principal tax analyst for CCH, a consulting firm based in Riverwoods, Ill.

This year, the package of tax breaks has been caught up in a debate about overhauling the entire tax code. The two top tax writers in Congress — House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont. — have been pushing to simplify the tax code by reducing tax breaks and using the additional revenue to lower overall tax rates.

But their efforts have yet to bear fruit, leaving both tax reform and the package of temporary breaks in limbo. When asked how businesses should prepare, given the uncertainty, Camp said: “They need to get on board with tax reform, that’s what they need to do.”

Further complicating the issue, President Barack Obama has nominated Baucus to become U.S. ambassador to China, meaning he will soon leave the Senate, if he is confirmed by his colleagues.

As the Senate wound down its 2013 session, Democratic leaders made a late push to extend many of the tax breaks by asking Republican colleagues to pass a package on the floor of the Senate without debate or amendments. Republicans objected, saying it wasn’t a serious offer, and

the effort failed.

So should taxpayers count on these breaks as they plan their budgets for Income Tax 2014?

“The best thing I would say is, budget accordingly,” said Jackie Perlman, principle tax research analyst at The Tax Institute. “As the saying goes, hope for the best but plan for the worst. Then if you get it, great, that’s a nice perk. But don’t count on it.”

Discuss this and more at the Income Tax Forums.

Late filing your 2012 Tax Return

Late filing your 2012 Income Tax Return? 

If you’re getting an income tax refund, no need to panic. You don’t even need to file an extension.

2012 tax returns that are due a refund have until April 15, 2016 (October 15, 2016 with an extension) to be filed with the IRS before the statute of limitations on the refund runs out. If you don’t file by then, the U.S. Treasury simply keeps your “donation.”

However, if you owe additional tax, file your return as soon as you can, even if you can’t pay your tax bill right away.

The penalties for not filing are much higher than the penalties for not paying, and the longer you wait, the worse it gets. See the What are the penalties for filing late? section below.

Can I e-file after the April 15 deadline?

Filing Income Tax Return LateYes, you can e-file your 2012 tax return through October 15, 2013. After that, the IRS shuts down e-filing to get ready for the following tax year, and you will need to file a conventional paper return.

Click here for tax year 2012 filing deadlines.

What are the penalties for filing late?

It all depends.

  • There is no penalty if you’re getting a refund, provided you file within the allotted 3-year timeframe.
    • After 3 years, the “penalty” is forfeiture of your tax refund, as mentioned above.
  • There is no penalty if you filed an extension and paid any additional taxes owed by April 15, as long as you file your return by the October 15 deadline.
  • late filing penalty applies if you owe taxes and didn’t file your return or extension by April 15.
    • This penalty also applies if you owe taxes, filed an extension, but didn’t file your return by October 15.
    • The late filing penalty is 5% of the additional taxes owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) your return is late, up to a maximum of 25%.
    • Tip: The late filing penalty is 10 times higher than the late payment penalty. If you can’t pay your tax bill and didn’t file an extension, at least file your return as soon as possible! You can always amend it later.
  • late payment penalty applies if you didn’t pay additional taxes owed by April 15, whether you filed an extension or not.
    • The late payment penalty is 0.5% (1/2 of 1 percent) of the additional tax owed amount for every month (or fraction thereof) the owed tax remains unpaid, up to a maximum of 25%.

Example: Let’s say you didn’t file your return or extension by April 15, and you still owe the IRS an additional $1,000.

Best-case scenario: You file your return on April 29, 2 weeks late, and submit your payment for $1,000. You would owe an additional $50 for filing late ($1,000 x .05) plus another $5 for late payment ($1,000 x .005) for a total penalty of $55.

(Had you filed your extension by the deadline, your total penalty would only be $5. It pays to file an extension!)

Worst-case scenario: You file your 2012 return in April of 2018, 5 years late, and submit your payment for $1,000. You would owe an additional $250 for filing late ($1,000 x the maximum .25) plus another $250 for late payment ($1,000 x the maximum .25), for a total penalty of $500.

What happens if I do not file, period?

You’ll probably receive a letter from the IRS reminding you to file your tax return, particularly if W-2 or 1099 forms were reported to the IRS by your employers. For additional information, refer to the IRS article What Will Happen If You Don’t File Your Past Due Return or Contact The IRS.

If you are due a refund, you’ll forfeit your refund if you do not file by April 15, 2016 (or October 15 of 2016 if you filed an extension).

Self-Employed?

You must file returns reporting your self-employment income within three years of the original filing deadline in order to receive Social Security credits toward your retirement. Don’t lose your Social Security benefits by not filing!

Are there any situations which allow me to file late?

Filing late return with IRSyou are out of the country on the April filing deadline, you are allowed two extra months (June 17, 2013) to file your return and pay the amount due, without needing to request an extension.

You’re considered out of the country if:

  • You live outside of the United States or Puerto Rico and your main place of work is outside of the United States or Puerto Rico; or
  • You are in military or naval service outside of the United States or Puerto Rico.

If you still need more time after the automatic June 17 deadline, you can request four additional months by filing an extension along with paying any taxes you owe.

Other Special Situations

  • Residents of Suffolk County, Massachusetts have until July 15, 2013 to file their 2012 returns and pay taxes due. More info
  • Taxpayers living in the Midwest or South who were unable to file their 2012 returns on time because of severe weather around the April 15 deadline may qualify for late filing without penalty. More info

IRS deadline for claiming 2009 Income Tax Refunds approaching.

The deadline for filing your 2009 Income Tax Refund is steadily approaching.

The IRS deadline for claiming 2009 Income Tax refund checks is April 15th, 2013. You will need to paper file your return by April 15th to claim your 2009 refund checks. This is for federal income tax refunds only.

2009 Income Tax Refund

“Refunds totaling just over $917 million may be waiting for an estimated 984,400 taxpayers who did not file a federal income tax return for 2009, the Internal Revenue Service announced today. However, to collect the money, a return for 2009 must be filed with the IRS no later than Monday, April 15, 2013.”

“By failing to file a return, people stand to lose more than refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2009. In addition, many low-and-moderate income workers may not have claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2009, the credit is worth as much as $5,657. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds.”

More details available at the IRS website. If you need assistance filing your 2009 Income Tax Return, contact Hot Springs Tax Services for help.

Individual 1040(ez) Tax Preparation

Also, a small note, If you have a copy of your prior year .tax return and your final pay stub from work. We can file starting January 3rd for you at no initial charge. Your payment will be paid out of your tax refund. Not have a bank account? No problem. We can have a check mailed or get the same card for you that you would get through a tax company. Contact us today for an appointment.

 

Taxes@HotSpringsTaxServices.com

(501) 216-0587

Get Your Income Tax Refund by January 28th 2013!

Get Your Income Tax Refund by January 28th 2013!

We finally have information about the Refund Calendar from the I.R.S. To see the dates that checks will be refunded, click here. We will actually be able to start filing on January 3rd 2013. This is the date that all of the tax forms needed will be available from the I.R.S. If you are interested in filing on this date, we will need your final 2012 pay check and a copy of your 2011 Tax Return that you filed in 2012.

If you are a returning client, we will just need your last pay stub from 2012 and any other information such as deductible expenses. We will still go over and make sure that we are not missing any 2012 information that could result in deductions or credits.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment via email or in office for January 2013! Appointments are limited, so please contact us as soon as possible!

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