Avoid Tax Refund Delays in 2022 in 6 Simple Ways

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With the IRS still working its way through a backlog of unprocessed returns even with a new tax season underway, taxpayers are urged to file returns as accurately as possible to avoid delays. This is especially true if you expect a refund and need the money.

See: Delays in Tax Return Processing Expected as IRS Is Still Understaffed and Overwhelmed
Find: Your Tax Refund Might Be Larger This Year — How to Invest It for Profit

You don’t need to be a tax expert to improve your chances of avoiding delays. You just need to avoid simple mistakes.

“When your return is right to start with, the chances that you’ll get your refund quickly go way up,” IRS spokesperson Eric Smith said in a recent interview with the AARP. “Likewise, the chances that you’ll get a letter from the IRS go way down — and that’s always good news.”

See: Child Tax Credit and Stimulus 2021 Recipients — Be on the Lookout for IRS Letter With Tax Filing Info
Find: 16% of People Expect a Tax Refund of $3,000 or More — But That Might Not Be a Good Thing

Make Your Money Work

Here are six simple ways you can avoid tax refund delays in 2022, according to the AARP:

  1. File online. The IRS is urging everyone to file online returns rather than paper ones — especially if you want your refund faster. Most online filers who choose direct deposit should get their refunds within 21 days of filing. A paper return, on the other hand, could result in an extended refund delay.
  2. Make sure all your documents arrive before filing. This is especially true of income forms like W-2s and 1099s. If you don’t include all of these on your return, you’ll end up with a different result than what the IRS has on file. This will trigger a notice from the agency that will delay your return and refund.
  3. Report your child tax credit and stimulus payments accurately. If you received an advance CTC payment and other federal stimulus checks tied to COVID-19 relief in 2021, you will need to put the exact amounts on your return to avoid delays. The IRS is mailing special letters about money you received from stimulus and CTC payments. Be sure to reconcile these amounts against what your records show to ensure an accurate return.
  4. Claim the correct dependents. The main thing to look out for here is to make sure that the dependents you claim aren’t also claiming themselves on their own returns. If that happens, one of you will have to correct a return, which can cause delays. You also need to make sure you enter the correct Social Security number for each dependent.
  5. Make sure you sign your return. As the IRS’s Smith told AARP, “Sending in an unsigned paper return is like sending in no return at all. At that point, it’s not valid.” The IRS will have to return it to be signed, and by the time you send it back it could already be caught up in a huge backlog.
  6. Double-check that you are sending your return to the correct IRS processing center. If you send it to the wrong center, the IRS will need to forward it to the right one, which puts you at the back of the line.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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