Manuel DaRosa, CPA
Accounting and Tax firm with offices in Taunton, Falmouth and Mansfield, MA
NEWSLETTERS

Where’s My Refund?

IRS seeks upgrade to dreaded online tool, but don’t hold your breath

In the midst of a particularly horrific tax season, with the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service (IRS) swamped by backlogged returns and citizens waiting anxiously for missing refunds to appear, many taxpayers seeking clarity have been referred to the dreaded online “Where’s My Refund” tracker. In other words, the place where inquiries go to die.

The “Where’s My Refund” tool, which lives on the IRS website, has been of scant help to many visitors, informing taxpayers with late refunds only that their returns are “pending.” It does not offer any estimate of when refunds can be expected, nor does it advise if additional supporting documents are needed. The lack of such basic services was flagged by the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)—the arm of the IRS that ensures fair treatment of citizen taxpayers—which recommended that the IRS supply these features as quickly as possible.

And according to a TAS report, the IRS seems to have taken the first steps. It has submitted several “Unified Work Requests” to its engineers, requesting programming upgrades to the tool that would include more specific reasons for why a refund has been delayed, or a notice if it’s still reviewing whether supporting documents are needed. It also says it’s exploring a system by which taxpayers can digitally transmit documents to the IRS, such as uploading through the IRS.gov website. That could include a permanent extension of the interim rules, allowing people to submit identity verification files over eFax during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But it’s not a done deal by any means: The IRS cautions that such programming upgrades are “subject to funding limitations and competing priorities,” meaning all this could very well amount to nothing if cash is thin or other issues are deemed more important. It’s also worth noting that another request—to supply relevant contact telephone numbers through the “Where’s My Refund” tool—has already been denied “due to funding limitations.” So if you’re still waiting for your 2020 refund, maybe don’t hold your breath.

Further along in the report, the IRS also notes it would not be able to expedite legitimate refunds by modernizing its “obsolete” systems—also “due to funding limitations”—nor would it be sharing data about how long it detains legitimate refunds that are tagged by fraud filters.

Tax Alerts
Tax Briefing(s)

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced it is providing transition relief to certain employers claiming the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC). The WOTC is a federal income tax credit available to employers that hire certified members of certain groups specified in the Internal Revenue Code who face significant barriers to employment, including Designated Community Residents or Qualified Summer Youth Employees.


For 2022, the Social Security wage cap will be $147,000, and Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase by 5.9 percent. These changes reflect cost-of-living adjustments to account for inflation.


The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment that the cap on the federal income tax deduction for money paid in state and local taxes (SALT) is constitutional.


The IRS has reminded employers to check the Work Opportunity Tax Credit available for hiring long-term unemployment recipients and other groups of workers facing significant barriers to employment.


The IRS highlighted how expanded tax benefits help both individuals and businesses give to charity before the end of this year.


The IRS issued a notice clarifying the application of certain extensions granted under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) for the election of COBRA coverage and payment of COBRA premiums due to the COVID-19 emergency.


The IRS identified drought-stricken areas where tax relief is available to taxpayers that sold or exchanged livestock because of drought.


An individual was allowed to deduct the amount of premiums paid to provide health insurance coverage for his ex-spouse as alimony.


The IRS has reminded taxpayers that the last quarter of 2021 is a good time to check withholding.


The IRS released standards that a limited liability company (LLC) must satisfy to receive a determination letter recognizing it as tax-exempt under Code Secs. 501(a)(1) and 501(c)(3). This does not affect the status of organizations currently recognized under Code Sec. 501(c)(3).


Final regulations under Code Sec. 301 update the existing regulations under this provision to reflect statutory changes made by the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988 ( P.L. 100-647) (the 1988 Act).


The Treasury and IRS have issued final regulations addressing the calculation of qualified business asset investment for qualified improvement property, under the alternative depreciation system (ADS), for purposes of the Code Sec. 250 deduction (for foreign-derived intangible income and Code Sec. 951A global intangible low-taxed income (GILTI)) and for purposes of determining GILTI.


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