Tuesday, February 21, 2012

IRS Refund Processing Delays

If you are wondering whether the IRS is taking longer to process and issue refunds, you are correct. This has been aggravated by a glitch in the “Where’s My Refund?” tool on the IRS website. The glitch occurs when you file your return electronically, wait a few days and then go to “Where’s My Refund,” which tells you that the IRS is not aware of your return. This is unnerving, of course. It is also incorrect.
What has occurred is that the IRS is tweaking its filters to counter identity fraud. Each year the IRS revises the Electronic Fraud Detection System (EFDS) to reflect fraud patterns detected the previous filing season. Last year, for example, over one million returns were flagged. The returns then go to personnel for review, and therein is the problem. There are not enough people to review the returns.  The ideal time for identity theft is early in the filing season, as the thief is trying to beat you to your refund. The IRS therefore has its fraud filters at their highest setting early in the season.
The IRS has released the customary “we are working on it” statement. It has also reinforced its commitment to getting refunds out within 21 days or less.

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