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IRS sending unemployment tax refund: how to contact IRS if missing

IRS recently sent millions of tax returns, yet many across the country are still waiting. Our team took a look at how to track your return.

IRS recently sent millions of tax returns, yet many across the country are still waiting. Our team took a look at how to track your return with IRS tools.

This year has been one of the busiest in IRS history. The changes made to the US tax code under the American Rescue Plan created delays in the IRS’s ability to distribute tax returns. In addition, the IRS has also been working hard during this tax season to distribute the third stimulus check. One of the main changes made under the new law was that it allows $10,200 of unemployment compensation to be left out of a taxpayer's total income for 2020. This change lowers the tax burden on individuals who have lost their job as a result of the pandemic and may entitle some to more substantive returns.

For those who filed before the law was passed, the IRS will automatically adjust the refund amount and send it when it is processed. The tax authority has said it will begin with simple returns, (i.e. single filers with no children), and continue to adjust the more complicated submissions throughout the summer.

On 4 June, the agency announced that it had sent 2.3 million more refunds of this nature, bringing the total amount distributed to 2.8 million.

Tracking your return

The IRS offers a tool for taxpayers to track the status of their returns. Using the Where’s My Return tool allows those interested to see the status of their return. According to the IRS, the platform is updated daily, and information is made available twenty-four hours after a return has been filed electronically. To use the tool, individuals should have the following information handy:

  • Social Security Number or Individual Tax Identification Number 

  • Your filing status (Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Jointly)

  • Your exact refund amount, which can be found on the finalized return you submitted.

When should you call the IRS?

The IRS has released guidance on when to call the IRS if a taxpayer experiences severe delays in receiving their return. If an individual mailed their tax return, rather than submitting it electronically or “had to respond to an IRS inquiry about your e-filed return, claimed an incorrect Recovery Rebate Credit amount or used 2019 income to claim the EITC or ACTC,” delays should be expected.

A call to the IRS should be made if an individual has waited more than twenty-one days after filing electronically or if the status on the “Where's My Refund" tells you to contact the IRS.” Those waiting to assist taxpayers can be reached at 800-829-1040.

Other reasons individuals could be experiencing delays

Those who did not receive the first or second stimulus check could claim the funds through the “Recovery Rebate Credit.” If errors were made while the credit was claimed, individuals should expect a delay in receiving their returns. Additionally, if the return was incomplete, “affected by identity theft or fraud,” or “Includes a claim filed for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit using 2019 income,” the return may take longer to process.