Reasons Why Some Tax Refunds Are Delayed in 2017
Why My Tax Refund Is Delayed
Tax return filings can be stressful, because there are many different rules that may or may not apply to you. If there is a delay in your United States tax refund, it could add even more stress on you. This is why it’s important to take some time to understand whether any rules or tax credits could affect you in receiving your tax return in a timely manner.
January 23, 2017 marked the beginning of U.S. tax return season, although there is still plenty of time to complete your tax return before the submission deadline, which is April 18, 2017.
There is no need to rush to complete your tax return because, if your tax filing has any mistakes or information missing, it could cause delays to your tax return.
There could be a number of other reasons for a delay as well. By reading the following, you will learn about what could cause a delay, how to avoid a delay, and how to check the status of your tax refund. Below, these questions and many more are answered to help you with your tax filing, to prevent any delays in your tax refund.
How Long Does It Take to Get My Tax Refund?
Depending on how you file your taxes, there will be a different expected timeframe for receiving your tax return. Here are the expected time periods to receive your tax refund:
- If you complete your tax file electronically, then your tax refund should be received within 21 days. If you have correctly registered for direct deposit, the payment will be deposited straight into your bank account.
- If you complete the paper-based tax form, then your tax refund should be expected to be received within six weeks. Your tax refund will be received by mail, in a form of a check.
- With an amended tax return, your refund would be expected to be arrive in eight weeks.
Why Haven’t I Received My Tax Refund (Completed Electronically)?
The quickest method to use to receive your tax refund is to complete an electronic tax form. The tax refund is expected to be directly deposited into your bank account within 21 days of your taxes being filed. However, there could be delays for reasons such as:
- your bank is taking longer to process the payment, which normally takes five business days,
- your financial institution may have rejected the direct deposit for some reason,
- your bank account may have the wrong name; deposits can only be made into a bank account with your name only, or a joint bank account with your name,
- the maximum number of tax refunds deposited into one bank account is three, and/or
- information on your tax return may be incorrect or missing (below is more information on what to do if this occurs).
Why Haven’t I Received My Tax Refund (Paper-Based)?
Once your paper-based tax return form is filed, the expected time period to receive your tax refund is six weeks. If six weeks have passed and you still have not received your tax refund, one or more of the following factors could be the problem:
- if there is an official holiday after you submit your tax return file, there could be a delay in processing your file, since the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be shut down on the holiday,
- the check has been mailed out, and the delay could be with the post office not delivering the mail on time or to the correct address, or
- there could have been errors or missed information when your tax return was initially submitted to the IRS (the following information shows how to solve this problem).
What Should I Do If I Submitted a Tax Return and Noticed An Error or Missing Information?
As humans, we at times, make mistakes, and the IRS understands this. If you realize that you have made an error or have forgotten to fill in some information, then an amended tax return must be completed. By completing the amended tax return, it will delay your tax refund by approximately eight weeks.
Will Making Claims for Tax Credits Delay My Tax Return?
Yes, it is possible to see a delay in receiving your tax refund if you have made claims for some tax credits. This could be because you are applying for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).
There could be two reasons for the delay.
The first is that the IRS is spending more time reviewing your tax return to ensure that there is no fraudulent information submitted in order to receive tax credits. The second reason is that the IRS wants to ensure that you qualify to receive the EITC and/or the ACTC.
Below is information regarding the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit, to ensure that you actually qualify to receive these tax credits. Spending the extra time to ensure that you qualify for these credits should reduce the chances of delays in your refund.
How Do I Receive the Earned Income Tax Credit?
In order to receive the EITC, you must meet at least two of the following requirements:
- be working, be a business owner, or be a farm owner, and have earnings that would qualify,
- have a low or moderate income as an individual or couple, or
- have at least one qualifying child
Below I have provided information on how to qualify for the EITC under the three requirements listed above. By applying on time and by being qualified for the deductions, there should be no delays in receiving your tax refund.
What Is Considered Earned Income to Qualify for the EITC?
In a U.S. tax filing, earned income is considered to be:
- wages, salaries, tips and other employee payments (such as bonuses),
- union strike benefits,
- long-term disability benefits received prior to minimum retirement age, or
- net earnings from self-employment.
Here are some examples of income that would not be considered as earned income for U.S. tax purposes:
- child support,
- social security benefits,
- retirement income,
- pay received for work as an inmate in a prison institution, or
- unemployment benefits.
What Income Levels Will Be Considered for Me to Be Eligible to Receive the Earned Income Tax Credit?
There are two factors that the IRS will consider in calculating the EITC: income level and the number of qualifying children. Here is a table outlining the details.
When filing as…Zero Qualifying Children One Qualifying ChildTwo Qualifying ChildrenThree or more Qualifying Children
|Single, Widowed, or Head of Household||$14,880.00||$39,296.00||$44,648.00||$47,955.00|
|Married and Filing a Joint Tax Return||$20,430.00||$44,846.00||$50,198.00||$53,505.00|
What Is Considered a Qualifying Child in Order to Receive the Earned Income Tax Credit?
- Your child must be younger than 19 years of age by the end of the tax filing year.
- Your child is younger than 24 years of age and is a full-time student by the end of the tax filing year.
- Your child is permanently and totally disabled by the end of the tax filing year, regardless of age.
- The child is your son, daughter, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or a descendant of any of them, such as your grandchild.
3. Living Arrangements:
- Child must be living in the United States for more than half of the tax filing year.
4. Submitting a Joint Tax Return
- The child cannot file a joint return for the tax year unless the child and the child’s spouse did not have a separate filing requirement, and filed the joint return only to claim a refund.
What Are the Maximum Credit Amounts for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
The maximum amount of credit for the EITC for one tax year is:
- $6,269.00 with three or more qualifying children
- $5,572.00 with two qualifying children
- $3,373.00 with one qualifying child
- $506.00 with no qualifying children
How Do I Receive the Additional Child Tax Credit?
If you have a child or another type of dependent, there is a possibility of claiming a tax credit known as the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). The maximum credit that can be claimed is $1,000.00 for each qualifying child. Here is a list of the parameters of what can be considered a qualifying child:
- your son, daughter, stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, stepbrother, stepsister, half-brother, half-sister, or descendant.
- was under the age of 17 at the end of the tax filing year.
- lived with you for more than half of the tax filing year.
- did not provide more than half of his or her own support for the tax filing year.
- has not—or will not—filed a joint return for the year.
- is a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or s U.S. resident alien (U.S. citizen living in another country).
What Are the Limits for the Additional Child Tax Credit?
The maximum credit amount for the ACTC that can be claimed in a tax filing year is $1,000.00 for each qualifying child.
Does My Income Level Affect My Additional Child Tax Credit?
If your gross income is more than the amounts listed below, the ACTC will be lowered.
- Married and filing a separate tax return and earning $55,000.00.
- Single, widower, or a head of household and earning $75,000.00.
- Married and filing a joint tax return and earning $110,000.00.
Can the Same Child Be Claimed Twice?
The simple answer is no. When making a claim for a qualifying child, there can only be one person who can make a claim. Depending on your life situation, you may be thinking you could claim twice for the same child. When such an issue does arise, there are tie-breaker rules in place. Below are a few situations in which this issue may arise, and how to solve it.
- When a joint tax return is filed, everything will be all together, and the child will be claimed once.
- When in a relationship and not married, only the parent can make the claim for the child.
- If you happen to be divorced and your child spent time with both parents, the parent who has lived with the child for a longer period during the tax filing year can make the claim.
- If you are divorced and the child has spent the same amount of time living with both parents throughout the tax filing year, the parent with the higher adjusted gross income can make a claim for the child.
- If there are no parents, the caregiver with the highest adjusted gross income can make a claim for the child as the legal guardian.
When and How to Check the Status of the Refund
Checking the status of your tax return file can be done through the IRS web site.The following information needs to be complete in order to gain access to your tax return file.
- social security number.
- filing status (single, married, etc.)
- amount of the tax refund that is expected.
Depending on how you submitted your tax filing, it affects when you can see the status of your refund.
- If you completed an electronic tax filing, you can view your tax refund status after 24 hours.
- If you completed a paper-based tax filing, then you can view your tax refund status after four weeks.
How Often Does the Tax Refund Status Update?
Your tax refund status will update on a daily basis, normally at night.
What Does “Received” Mean When Looking at My Tax Refund Status?
The IRS has officially received your completed tax filing and has begun processing it.
What Does “Approved” Mean When Looking at My Tax Refund Status?
The IRS has processed your tax return, and your tax refund has been approved. The tax refund is on its way to you through a check in the mail, or through direct deposit to your bank account.