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.

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The agency's overall backlog is growing and its processing time is slowing.


The Internal Revenue Service announced a new Voluntary Disclosure Program that gives at employers who received erroneous Employee Retention Credit funds the opportunity pay them back at a discounted rate.


The IRS has provided certain eligible taxpayers with automatic relief from additions to tax for failure to pay income tax for tax years 2020 and 2021Relief is only available to taxpayers who filed an eligible return during the relief period, which begins on either the date the IRS issued an initial balance due notice or February 5, 2022, whichever is later, ends on March 31, 2024.


The IRS has issued final regulations regarding the de minimis safe harbors from the penalties under Code Sec. 6721 for failure to file information returns and Code Sec. 6722 for failure to furnish payee statements. The regulations also include the time and manner a payee may elect out of the safe harbor, as well as rules on reporting basis of securities by brokers as it relates to the de minimis safe harbors. The final regulations adopt the 2018 proposed regulations with only minor modifications.


The Treasury Department and the IRS have issued guidance pertaining to the new credit for qualified commercial clean vehicles, established by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-169). Notice 2024-5 establishes a safe harbor regarding the incremental cost of certain qualified commercial clean vehicles placed in service in calendar year 2024.


The IRS and the Department of Treasury (the Treasury) have announced that they intend to propose regulations to implement the product identification number (PIN) requirement with respect to the energy efficient home improvement credit under Code Sec. 25C as amended by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) (P. L. 117-169). The IRS has also requested comments on the PIN requirement under Code Sec. 25C(h) (PIN requirement) by February 27, 2024.


Taxpayers may rely on an IRS notice that describes forthcoming regulations for the alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit. The notice focuses on the census tract requirement added by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-169). 


The IRS has provided relief from the failure to furnish a payee statement penalty under Code Sec. 6722 to certain partnerships with unrealized receivables or inventory items described in Code Sec. 751(a) (Section 751 property) that fail to furnish, by the due date specified in Reg. §1.6050K-1(c)(1), Part IV of Form 8308, Report of a Sale or Exchange of Certain Partnership Interests, to the transferor and transferee in a Section 751(a) exchange that occurred in calendar year 2023.


The IRS has issued a notice addressing the availability of administrative exemptions from the requirement to file certain returns and other documents in electronic form. The notice also addresses the availability of information about the procedure to request a waiver of the requirement to file electronically Forms 1120, 1120-S, 1120-F, and 1065. In addition, thr IRS has provided information about resources pertaining to failed attempts to electronically file Forms 1120, 1120-S, and 1120-F using IRS filing systems.


Although 2023 was a year of transition for the IRS and taxpayers, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins has reason to be more optimistic for 2024.


An increased emphasis on millionaires who may be evading taxes by Internal Revenue Service compliance staff has resulted in collection of $482 million to date, agency Commissioner Daniel Werfel reported.


Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen touted the corporate transparency that will come with the new beneficial ownership reporting requirements, which went into effect at the start of 2024.


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