Taxpayers have all kinds of questions about their tax refunds, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has addressed many of the most common concerns in Topic No. 152 Refund Information.
The IRS has a variety of tax topics on IRS procedures, collection processes, filing methods, how to get help, and more. Exploring these topics can be a great way to learn more about the U.S. tax code and IRS processes, and this guide will give you a head start by covering the essentials of Tax Topic 152.
Info Covered in Tax Topic 152
Tax topic 152 provides taxpayers with essential information about their tax refunds. This topic doesn’t explain how the IRS calculates refunds, and it doesn’t offer any guidance on how to file your tax return. It instead focuses on what to expect if you’ve filed a return and are expecting a refund. Here are some of the main subjects covered in Tax Topic 152:
Tax Refund Timing
The IRS issues most refunds in three weeks or less, but refunds from amended returns typically take around 16 weeks. Refunds related to injured spouse claims and tax withheld on Form 1042-S may take even longer to process.
People who file their returns early may have to wait until the first week of March to receive their refunds if they include an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit.
Tax Topic 152 also explains the different methods the IRS uses to distribute refunds to taxpayers. The IRS can send a paper check to the address on your return, but you typically receive the refund faster if you opt for direct deposit into your bank account
You can also request the IRS to deposit your refund into a TreasuryDirect account, a Health Savings Account, an Archer MSA, a Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA), or a Traditional, Roth, or SEP-IRA. You can even use your refund to buy a U.S. savings bond, and the IRS will take care of the process for you.
Splitting Your Refund
How to Check the Status of Your Refund
Tax Topic 152 also covers information on how to check the status of your refund. The IRS says you can start to check the status of e-filed returns 24 hours after submitting them, but you should wait about four weeks to check the status of a mailed return. Here is how to check on your return:
The IRS has a mobile app that allows you to check the status of your return. IRS2Go is available on Google Play, the Apple App Store, and Amazon, and this app also lets you make payments, access tax help, and sign up for alerts.
You can also check on the status of your refund online using the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool. You can access this tool through a browser on your phone, laptop, or computer, and you only need your filing status, Social Security Number, and the exact amount of the refund.
People who don’t have access to the internet can check their refund status over the phone. You can call 800-829-1954 to check the status of most tax refunds, but you should call 866-464-2050 if you’re checking on the status of a refund from an amended tax return.
The IRS’s refund status has three different stages: received, approved, and sent. Your status, for example, will show “received” if the IRS has your return but is still processing it and hasn’t approved the refund. It will show “approved” if the refund has been approved but hasn’t been dispatched to your refund method. It will say “sent” if a check has been mailed or a direct deposit has been initiated.
Mistakes to Avoid With Tax Topic 152
1. Contacting the IRS Too Early
Don’t contact the IRS unless you mailed your return six weeks ago or your e-filed return was accepted at least 21 days ago.
2. Assuming All Refunds Take the Same Amount of Time
Special situations may take longer.
3. Believing IRS Agents Have More Info
IRS agents can typically only see the same information shown on the Where’s My Refund tool
4. Not Calling the IRS If Requested
You should call the IRS if the Where’s My Refund tool says to contact them.
5. Not Cashing a Small Check
You should cash your refund check if it’s smaller than expected. The IRS will send a notice explaining the difference.
6. Not Reporting a Missing Check
Always report missing refund checks so the IRS can trace the missing check and issue you a new one.
You should also contact your accountant or double-check the direct deposit information on your return if your refund is taking longer than expected. Mistakes could lead to processing delays.
Have Questions About Tax Topic 152?
Tax Topic 152 and other IRS concepts can be complicated, and if you have tax debt, the government may keep your refund. Silver Tax Group can represent you in any dealings with the IRS. Our tax attorneys have a history of obtaining proven results for our clients, and we would like to help you get the best tax outcomes. Contact our team today for a free consultation.