Is your income tax refund guaranteed?

You would file a tax return claiming the refund of your income tax if the excessive deduction of tax has been done at the source or during the payment of self-assessment tax. Your income tax refund is guaranteed if you and the IRS are on the same terms related to your refunds. Mostly, the IRS pays back the refunds within 10-15 days of the receipt of the tax return filing.

 There are some major factors that would help you to determine how fast you can receive your tax refund.

  • How early you have filed your income tax return?
  • If you e-filed the tax refund or have sent by mail?
  • If you are claiming any tax credits such as EITC and CTC
  • If you have any existing debts with the Federal Government or not

 Once your tax returns have been e-filed, you can check the status of your tax returns by

  • You can use the Where’s My Refund tool by the IRS to find out the status of your income tax refund.
  • You can also call the IRS on the Customer Support number to understand the status of your tax refund.

Can your tax refund be held back?

 Your tax refunds can be held back by the IRS and then obtaining your tax refund may not be guaranteed under the below-mentioned scenarios.

 a.The inaccuracy of your tax return

 Your tax refund can be held back by the IRS if there has been an error made by you while filing your tax returns. There are chances that there is a discrepancy in the return that has been filed in the past.

  • If the IRS thinks that there has been an error made by you while filing your tax returns, then your refund can be changed by the IRS. In case, you feel that the change has done is incorrect, you can prove this to the IRS and ask for a reversal. You have 60 days within which you can do so.  After 60 days are over, you will have to file for an amended return so that the IRS would issue your refund.
  • If you have claimed some erroneous deductions, then the IRS can conduct an audit to find out about the accuracy of your tax returns. If you can prove to the IRS that the claimed deductions are correct then the IRS will issue your refund.
  • The IRS has the authority to freeze your refund if your previous tax returns are being audited and it feels that you owe additional taxes to the IRS.

 b.You owe back taxes

 If you have pending taxes to be paid to the IRS, then the IRS would keep your refund to pay your taxes. The IRS can also take your refund if you are on a payment plan known as an Installment Agreement. However, if you are unable to pay your taxes in one go you must get into a payment agreement with the IRS for minimizing your penalties. This would also help in the prevention of collection enforcement actions.

 c.You have unfiled back tax returns

 In case, you have unfiled tax returns then the IRS can freeze your refund and start a delinquent return inquiry. This will continue until you have filed your pending tax returns and have also cleared all the associated pending tax bills.

d. A problem in your tax account

 The IRS might suspect some problem with your IRS tax account and thus hold your tax refunds.

  • Victim of tax identity theft –

    The IRS might suspect that there has been a tax identity theft. You will have to contact the IRS for proving your identity. Once, your identity is proved you can obtain your tax refund easily.

  • Dependent related discrepancy –

    This might happen when someone else has claimed your child as a dependent on his tax return. You will have to explain and prove it to the IRS that you should be able to claim the dependent on your tax refund.

 e.Other debt

 There are some other categories of debts that might be pending on you such as Student loans, Child Support, Unemployment compensation re-payments, or the State Taxes.  These debts can be collected from the IRS by holding on to your refunds.  However, to resolve this problem you would have to get in touch with the source of your debt and not the IRS.

So, if any of these reasons are not expected in your case then your income tax refund is guaranteed.