Where is my IRS refund? Mathematical error delays processing

In a punitive tax season plagued by technical glitches and ever-changing regulations, millions of Americans still face unresolved delays as they wait for their much-needed refund checks. Some have been waiting since the official opening of the 2021 tax season in February.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is working to get rid of a massive backlog of unprocessed returns, and in doing so, it chooses to review many of them manually, which can further delay the process.

A common reason for a manual exam? Simple mathematical errors.

In fact, math and administrative errors have increased dramatically this year, in part because changes to the Child Tax Credit and the Payback Refund Credit have made tax filing more complicated for ordinary Americans. According to a new update from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent office of the IRS that acts as a kind of watchdog, the IRS made $ 9 million in error corrections on tax returns in the first half of the year. of this year. This is compared to just 628,997 during the same period last year.

Of this year’s corrections, 7.4 million returns went to what the IRS calls the “Error Resolution System,” which means they need to be further investigated for errors or omissions. This is where the delays really come in.

The good news is that the IRS will be tell you if a math error is delaying your statement. They will send you a notice informing you of the correction and any resulting change to your refund.

The bad news? You may be completely confused by this advice. “Many mathematical error notices are vague and do not adequately explain the urgency of the situation,” writes CAS. “In fact, in some cases, math error notices do not even specify the exact error that was corrected, but rather provide a series of possible errors that may have been corrected by the IRS through its authority. mathematical error. “

Confused reviews are a problem, writes the CAS, as taxpayers only have 60 days to dispute corrections. Of course, it’s hard to know if you’re disputing a change when you don’t understand it.

If you think your delay is the result of a math or clerical error, for now all you can do is wait for the IRS to hear from. Be on the lookout for one of two notices: Avis CP11 or Avis CP12. (CP stands for Computer Paragraph.) CP11 means a correction has been made and you owe taxes, while CP12 means a correction has been made and your refund amount has changed. If you believe the correction was made in error, it is essential that you follow the instructions on the notice for how to respond and do so within 60 days.

See the full TAS update for more information.

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