1997 Tax Help Archives  

Refunds - How Long They Should Take

This is archived information that pertains only to the 1997 Tax Year. If you
are looking for information for the current tax year, go to the Tax Prep Help Area.

If you file a complete and accurate tax return and you are due a refund, your refund will be issued within six weeks from the date we receive your return. If you filed electronically, refund checks will be issued within three weeks after the acknowledgment date. For more information on electronic filing, see Topic 252. Refunds from amended returns or injured spouse claims take longer.

To check the progress of your current year refund, use the refund status option offered on the TeleTax system. Please allow 6 weeks after you mail your return before calling this automated system at 1-800-829-4477. When you call, you will need to provide the first social security number shown on the return, your filing status, and the amount of the refund.

There are several reasons for delayed refunds. An address change after filing the return, a name listed on the tax return that does not match with the name on the Social Security Records, failure to either sign the return or include necessary attachments such as W-2's or schedules and detected math errors are some of the situations that may result in an additional 8 week delay in receiving your refund. See Topic 157 on information concerning how to notify the IRS of an address change. See Topic 303 for a checklist of common errors when preparing your tax return, and for additional items that may delay the processing of your return.

If you receive a refund to which you are not entitled, or one for an amount that is more than you expected, do not cash the check until you receive a notice explaining the difference, and follow the instructions on the notice.

On the other hand, if you receive a refund for a smaller amount than you expected, you may cash the check, and, if it is determined that you should have received more, you will later receive a check for the difference.

If you did not receive a notice and you have questions about the amount of your refund, you should wait two weeks after receiving the refund then call 1-800-829-1040.

The IRS assists taxpayers in obtaining replacement checks for refunds that are verified as lost or stolen. Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund, may be required to start the replacement check process. If your refund check has been lost or stolen, or if it is not received within two weeks of the date it was mailed, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

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