April 5, 2006
"Where’s My Refund" Usage at Record Pace
The Internal Revenue Service announced that more people than ever are using “Where’s My Refund,” the popular Internet-based service used by taxpayers to check on their federal income tax refunds.
More than 21 million requests have been received on “Where’s My Refund” so far this year, representing a growth of more than 20 percent compared to the same period last year.
“Where’s My Refund is a fast, easy way to check on a refund,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Taxpayers are using this feature and our other electronic services at a record rate.”
Taxpayers can securely access their personal refund information through the agency’s Web site at IRS.gov. All they need to do is enter their Social Security number, filing status and the exact amount of their refund. These shared secrets, which are data known only to the taxpayer and IRS, verify the person is authorized to access the account.
The IRS reminds taxpayers to not share any of this data to anyone claiming to be the IRS in an e-mail. The phony e-mail scheme is called “phishing,” and it is an attempt to get private information such as Social Security, credit card or bank account numbers from taxpayers. The IRS reminds taxpayers it does not send out unsolicited e-mails.
Taxpayers have been successful almost 81 percent of the time when they try to access their accounts on “Where’s My Refund.” The IRS says the major reason some taxpayers are not successful in accessing their accounts is because they are not entering the exact refund amount in whole dollars from the return they submitted.
Taxpayers can check on the status of their federal income tax refunds seven days after they e-filed their return. If they file a paper return, they can check four to six weeks after mailing their return.
If 28 days have passed after the IRS says it mailed a refund check, a new feature on “Where’s My Refund” enables taxpayers to initiate a trace. The refund trace allows taxpayers to update a flawed mailing address. However, taxpayers who are married and filing joint returns must also complete and fax or mail a copy of Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund. Signatures of both taxpayers must be on the form. This form is required only for those whose filing status is married, filing jointly.
The IRS says taxpayers can avoid undelivered refund checks by having their refunds directly deposited into a personal checking or savings account. Direct deposit also guards against theft and lost refund checks. Direct deposit is available for both paper and electronically filed returns.
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