If you owe a refund and have not yet filed your taxes to collect it, you should be smart about how to submit your return. In fact, there is one key thing you want to avoid: filing a paper return, rather than filing electronically. Sending a paper form may make you wait months for your money.
Here’s why it could take months to get your refund if you don’t have an electronic file
In April, the IRS released a statement urging taxpayers and tax professionals to file tax returns electronically, as the IRS is unable to process paper returns due to closings related to coronavirus. The agency said it would not even begin processing paper forms until its processing centers reopen. And it will probably take time.
It is estimated that 30,000 IRS employees were placed on administrative leave during the pandemic. And while the IRS asked 11,000 employees to volunteer to return to work in April, they failed to get that number. Another 11,000 people were asked to return to work on June 1, but the National Union of Treasury Employees encourages flexibility for parents who have children at home, as well as for employees who may be classified as high risk. With many employees worried about the dangers of working in the office, it is not yet clear whether the IRS will achieve this goal.
And even as the IRS workforce grows, there is a huge backlog for returning employees. In mid-May, a report to the Ways and Means Committee revealed that there were already 10 million mail items pending, including approximately 4.7 million tax returns to be processed. Going through all these administrative formalities will not be quick. And if you have not yet filed your return, it will be at the bottom of the stack.
Filing your taxes electronically is easy. Here’s how to do it
The good news is that you can avoid the long delays associated with filing a paper return by submitting your forms electronically. If your income is $ 69,000 or less, you can do it for free with your choice of user-friendly software. The IRS provides resources to help you find the right one, because there are differences between them.
If your income is above this limit, you can pay to use one of these programs or simply use free forms to fill out on the IRS website. These do not make the process as simple as tax software, but can be submitted for free electronically. If you are used to submitting paper forms that you complete yourself, free online forms should not be more difficult.
Don’t wait months for your refund for no reason
Since electronic filing of your taxes is so simple, there are few reasons do not to do it – especially this year, when the IRS takes so long to process paper returns. Start working on your online forms today so you can claim your refund and start using money wisely.