ABC News Online and many other websites and blogs have reported the IRS “Where’s My Refund” tool is down due to a glitch.
Apparently, the IRS is aware of the problem and I’m sure they’ll have it up and running in no time. The IRS also told the public the unavailability of this tool would not delay refunds from filed returns. Really?
This makes me laugh a little—well actually a lot. I used to rely on my business tax returns to be completed before I could file my personal return—I needed those pesky K-1s, I had to file extensions year after year. In fact, once I did file all my returns including the personal, each time I tried to use the Where’s My Refund tool, it never found me!
I’d get a message something like, “Sorry, we can’t find your information based on the social security number entered. Please call the 1-800number below and mention reference number xozmpohabpdn1pabnvpa! Oh and then there was a statement, “Please print this page so you have the reference number handy.” Nah I have a great memory, thanks anyway IRS.
I’m not sure why this is but I always file extensions on my business and personal returns. Why you ask? Am I lazy? Probably those who don’t know me would say. But, when you’re involved in more than one business, it takes a while to gather all the information, PAY THE ACCOUNTANT for multiple business returns and then PAY THE ACCOUNTANT AGAIN to file your personal return. But heck CPA payments are tax deductible but it’s still EXPENSIVE!
If I go by what year it is by determining what year I’m due a refund on—it’s really 2009, maybe even 2007! Yes, the IRS lost my refund for 2009 and for an amended return I filed for 2007. Solving the problem of lost refunds is much worse than using the Where’s My Refund tool.
First you need to fill out form 3911. This form is appropriately called, “Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund.” I did file form 3911 for both tax year 2009 and for the amended return for 2007 (Please don’t ask why it needed to be amended but I swear under penalty of law it did!) In addition, you cannot include multiple lost my refund inquiries on one form 3911, you need to use a new form for each inquiry. I received neither refund most likely because I moved from New Mexico to Texas recently BUT and this is a big BUT—I did complete form 8822 better known as the “Change of Address” form.
I filed form 8822 long before I moved giving the IRS ample time to enter my new address into their computer system. Apparently they didn’t receive this but there’s no Form 8822X. There really is no IRS form 8822X but anytime you need to amend anything with the IRS, the amended form number is usually followed by an “X”—like the 1040X a form with which I am very familiar!
What is a girl to do? After I put my thinking cap on I had an amazing revelation! I’ll call the IRS! Actually, it’s not bad calling the IRS. Sure you have a couple menu options at first but they don’t take long and then a voice comes on telling you how long your wait is estimated to be. I have always been told I had a 15 minute wait and the voice was pretty spot on.
When your call is answered, the IRS representative says, “My name is Mr. Hall, I.D. number 1234567” how can I help you today. This was the most pleasant part of my call to the IRS about my lost refunds for 2009 and 2007.
Mr. Hall was lost—big time. He couldn’t find my information for either return and I was armed with my social security number, my husband’s social security number and the tax identification numbers for my businesses. Mr. Hall’s screen apparently went blank because he kept asking for the numbers again and again and leaving me on hold for long periods of time while I listened to too-loud Muzak.
I could go on and on here, but why complain? Government workers are understaffed and underpaid and I bet the IRS could use some updated computer equipment—something without a green screen would be nice!
Eventually, Mr. Hall, I.D. number 1234567 told me I would have to re-file form 3911 and when I asked if that meant I also had to re-file form 8822 for the address change, to my surprise the IRS had received that—he did have my current address. Whew!
What’s frustrating is the process. According to Mr. Hall, I.D. number 1234567, once they received form 3911, it would take approximately 6-8 weeks to research the refund checks to ensure they weren’t cashed. They would next send me a letter, I think it was called Letter 206BC or something like that to let me know they found no record of the refund checks being cashed and once I would again have to verify I had not received the refunds during that 6-8 week period. After responding to Letter 206BC: “Affirmative, I have not received the checks and I swear under the penalty of law” it would take another 6-8 weeks to issue the checks!
Okay folks, it’s February 2012 and I ask myself everyday “Where’s my refund?” By the time I get these checks for 2007 and 2009, I’m guessing it will be way past April 15th, the deadline for this year’s tax return filing. Wonder if I should file an extension? I mean I did move after all and I do have a lot of itemized deductions! Hmmm?
Image Credit: Farconville