Refund Feed

Tax filing time! (Photo by MoneyBlogNewz via Flickr) The Internal Revenue Service will begin processing 2018 tax returns on Jan. 28. That's essentially the same the time, the last Monday of the month, that filing season started last year. Free File, the partnership between the IRS and the tax software industry, has in the past opened at least a few days earlier (it was available on Jan. 12 last year), but there's no word on that 2019 no-cost online tax prep and filing option yet. But one thing the IRS did make clear is its commitment to the Jan. 28... Read more →


Good news today for folks who are expecting a tax refund when they file their 2018 returns this year. You'll get your money, even if the partial government shutdown drags out into the 2019 tax filing season. That's the word from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), according to Hallie Jackson, chief White House correspondent for MSNBC. Jackson made that announcement during Ali Velshi's show this afternoon after leaving an hour-plus White House press briefing, led by Vice President Mike Pence, on the shutdown. "The head of Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, is telling us that there... Read more →


I'm getting a lot of feedback about the partial government shutdown, specifically about the pay status of Internal Revenue Service (and other federal) personnel who will report to work next week and those who are furloughed. More than 420,000 federal employees who will work will do so without pay, according to a report from the Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee. The additional 380,000 furloughed workers head home to wait out the closure, again without pay. Those 800,000 or so federal employees earn this week's By the Numbers honors. Many folks objected to my description in recent government shutdown blog... Read more →


We're now into the third shutdown of federal offices this year. The other two were brief closures back in January and February. Will this latest federal government shutdown, which began at midnight today (Saturday, Dec. 22) be similarly short-lived? Maybe, but closure #3 of 2018 already is the longest of the year, with the January shutdown lasting three days and the one in early February technically shutting federal doors for just a few hours. Nothing is expected to happen until after Christmas. Some are predicting the impasse will continue into the new year. And Donald J. Trump has vowed that... Read more →


Will the Internal Revenue Service have to operate short-handed during the coming tax-filing season? Maybe. It's looking more like a government shutdown will happen after the White House rejection of the Senate-approved continuing resolution to keep all of Uncle Same's offices operating. (IRS Washington, D.C., headquarters photo by David Boeke via Flickr CC) The Internal Revenue Service is among the federal agencies awaiting full fiscal year (FY) funding. When I woke up this morning, it looked like Uncle Sam's tax collector would get his money. A short-term funding deal was on its way to passage, having cleared the Senate last... Read more →


This post was updated Saturday, Dec. 22, as the federal government was partially closed when Donald J. Trump rejected any funding measure that doesn't have $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Photo by Alan Cleaver via Flickr CC We're now into the third government shutdown of 2018. Even though only some federal offices are affected, the Internal Revenue Service is among them. And if the closure is a long one, it could shake the Internal Revenue Service's initial confidence that the coming tax season won't be affected. A couple of weeks ago when it looked like Congress and the... Read more →


We're on the downside of 2018 and that has some folks in the tax world, and on Capitol Hill, concerned. They're worried that unless folks act soon, they're going to get an unwelcome surprise next federal tax filing season. When they fill out their new Form 1040s, they'll discover they owe. The reason is the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). OK, technically it's because a lot of folks haven't adjusted their payroll withholding to account for the new lower income tax rates and other changes, like no more exemptions and revised of eliminated itemized expenses. It's not for... Read more →


U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Gordon Some veterans who received disability severance payments after Jan. 17, 1991, and included that money as income when they filed their tax returns now are due refunds. The former military members have known since February that they were due money. Now the process of getting it has finally begun. But Uncle Sam isn't automatically sending former troops any cash due from the erroneously taxed payments. The veterans need to file an amended tax return using Form 1040X to claim a disability severance payment-related credit or tax refund. Why now?... Read more →


Taxes are complicated. Most filers, however, escape some of the hassle by claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing expenses. Over the years, around 70 percent of taxpayers annually have taken the standard deduction route. That number is likely to increase next year, when even more folks filing 2018 returns will claim the standard deduction amounts because, under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), they have almost doubled. A few of us, though, will stick with Schedule A and our itemized expenses. And we, says the Internal Revenue Service, need to look at our payroll withholding now because of... Read more →


Click image to watch the Mos Eisley cantina scene, in which these musicians provide the catchy background tune, from the 1977 Star Wars movie that launched the sci-fi film franchise. Merry May 4th. Yes, this is another goofy, made-up holiday, but one that's dear to sci-fi fans (and punsters), particularly those devoted to Star Wars. The film franchise's iconic "May the force be with you" greeting is celebrated each year on the similar sounding "May the Fourth be with you." As a long-time sci-fi fan and a college student who waited in a long line to see the 1977 debut... Read more →


Through April 13, the Internal Revenue Service had received 118.6 million tax returns. It had issued more than 86 million refunds totaling almost $243.6 billion. The refund numbers are fractionally smaller than in 2017, but they are still big enough to mean the average amount of money that Uncle Sam has sent so far this year to taxpayers is $2,831. That average check or direct deposit amount actually is slightly larger than last year's amount. GOBankingRates recently asked Americans how they planned to spend their tax windfalls. The results were encouraging for money folks who preach fiscal responsibility. Forty-three percent... Read more →


Most U.S. taxpayers get refunds. But the time it takes to get that over-withheld money seems to get longer every filing season, at least according to the emails I've received and comments on my refund-related blog posts. Part of the reason is the annual mandated hold until mid-February of refunds associated with returns that included Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit claims. Realistically, that money doesn't show up in many affected filers' hands until the end of February. Then earlier this year, Congress decided to renew some tax breaks after the filing season had already been... Read more →


Internal Revenue Service filing data complete through March 16 shows that it has issued almost $183 million in tax refunds to around 62 million taxpayers. Many of those folks now getting refunds planned on the tax-back money. They used paycheck over-withholding as a forced savings account. These are the types of taxpayers the IRS is hoping to reach as part of Paycheck Checkup Week, which kicked off on Monday, March 26. Over the next few days, the IRS is making a special effort to get people to take another look at their payroll withholding. Such reexamination is especially important now... Read more →


There are so many tax scams out there that it takes more than one post to cover them. Three posts, to be precise. This is Part 3 of the Internal Revenue Service's 2018 list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. Your promised tax savings can be quickly washed away if you put your money into an abusive offshore tax shelter. This is it, a look at the final group of scams that crooks are using again this tax year to try to take our money. The final four schemes in this post, numbers 9 through 12, are like those in... Read more →


There are so many tax scams out there that it takes more than one post. Three, to be precise. This is Part 2 of the Internal Revenue Service's 2018 list of the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams. The four schemes in this post, numbers 5 through 8, are like those in the initial 2018 Dirty Dozen tax scams of 2018. They also are repeat (dis)honorees. That's because once crooks find something that works, they keep using it. And sadly, there are enough new victims out there every year to fall for it. Unless potential targets are warned. To do that and... Read more →


Photo by GotCredit via Flickr CC It's hard for most of us to believe, but every year some folks who are due federal tax refunds do not file returns with the Internal Revenue Service. If they ignore those filings for more than three years, then Uncle Sam gets to keep the money permanently. Right now, though, the U.S. Treasury is just holding the unclaimed tax refunds — a total of $1.1 billion. That's how much cash the estimated 1 million taxpayers who didn't file a tax year 2014 Form 1040 back in 2015 could be kissing goodbye. They have until... Read more →


As soon as Congress began debating tax law changes in late 2017, there's been much controversy and confusion about just how much individual taxpayers would benefit. For months, it's basically been a guessing game. Now, however, we each can get a more precise idea of our tax liability under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that took effect on Jan. 1. The Internal Revenue Service has updated its online withholding calculator. The new calculator version, along with a revised Form W-4, should help taxpayers determine their proper 2018 payroll withholding amounts. In with the new, out with the old... Read more →


The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it has begun releasing refunds for taxpayers who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Many of these refunds should arrive in bank accounts or on debit cards this week, according to the IRS. That should make many of the ol' blog readers who've been frustrated by the delay (and shared their irritation in the comments section of my recent Where's Your Refund? post) happy. But some folks are likely to be irked about their refunds for another reason. The amount that arrived as a check, in their... Read more →


U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Gordon With identity theft and refund fraud being so ubiquitous, folks might understandably think an unexpected tax refund notice is a scam. This time though, it's real for more than 133,000 U.S. military veterans who may qualify for their portion of federal tax refunds totaling an estimated $78 million. These former service personnel are due the money because they wrongly paid taxes on disability severance pay. Some of the erroneous tax payments go back as far as Jan. 17, 1991. The amount due eligible veterans varies based on rank and... Read more →


You open the package expecting, well you don't know what, but probably not 500 cockroaches. That, however, is what happened to a mail thief. Crooks will steal just about anything. And criminals who focus on U.S. Post Office boxes tend to increase their activity around this time every year. The reason? Tax refunds. Tax-related mail theft: Every February, people are either getting refund checks from the U.S. Treasury or they're receiving tax documents they can use to file their annual federal and state returns. Either option is a crook's dream. The checks can be cashed. The tax statements' info can... Read more →