Are Stimulus Checks Causing Tax Refunds to Be Delayed?


Are you still waiting on your tax refund? You're not the only one.

Many Americans have expressed their frustration after waiting months for a tax refund that typically takes the IRS less than 21 days post filing, WLS, an ABC station in Chicago, reports.

Some people believe the cause of the delay is the agency prioritizing stimulus checks over the tax returns in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I am frustrated because I filed my taxes on March 6, of this year, and I had it direct deposited," Barbara Whitecraft of Lansing, Illinois told the publication. "Usually I get it in two weeks, and here it is already May and I haven't received anything."

Tax experts like Trudy Howard, owner of Howard Tax Prep LLC, said the delays are happening at unprecedented levels.

"I've never seen anything like this, and I've been doing this since 2003," she said. "And online, I'm part of a tax community and a lot of people from Memphis, Atlanta, throughout the United States, they are reporting that their clients also have not been receiving their refunds in the typical seven to 21 days."

According to WLS, the IRS sent out 94.3 million refunds worth $255.4 billion to taxpayers, but acknowledge that there are several reasons why a refund may be delayed including incomplete tax returns and identity theft or fraud.

"While the IRS expects to issue more than nine out of 10 refunds in less than 21 days, it's possible a particular tax return may require additional review and a refund could take longer. Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund,” the agency said.

Many awaiting refunds said they had their taxes skimmed for errors with a taxpayer and have yet to receive the money, leading them to believe that the focus is on stimulus checks.

"I know the stimulus checks are important, but so are the other checks, too," Whitecraft said.

The IRS clarified that more than 90 percent filed electronically, which speeds up the process of a return. Those who filed a paper return may wait longer as returns cannot be processed until centers are cleared to re-open.

Due the pandemic, the IRS gave Americans more time to file by moving the income tax filing deadline to July 15 from April 15.

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