FAQ

Updated answers are still in progress.

When does the “21 days” begin for processing time?

Although some returns may be accepted into the test batch prior to the opening day of tax season, the "21 days" the IRS says to allow for processing doesn't officially begin until the opening day. If you filed on or after opening day then your "21 days" begins on the day your return was accepted.

Do I have to file my Federal and State Returns together?

Most states allow you to file your State Return separately from your Federal Return so long as your Federal Return has already been accepted by the IRS, although there are a few states that have more specific requirements. For more information: File State and Federal Tax Returns Together

What can my Transcripts tell me?

Each transcript has a different purpose. The "return" transcript and the "account" transcript are the most common two. The "return" transcript is usually an almost exact copy of your filed tax return, whereas the "account" transcript will have codes that indicate activity on your account. Ordering transcripts by mail is not a reliable way to find out if you are done processing or to see if a DDD is in your near future. Click here to learn more.

What is an IP PIN?

IP PINs are used when ID theft has been reported to the IRS.  IP PINs are mailed to you from the IRS and are required to be entered on your tax return. Click here to find out more about IP Pins.

What is an e-file PIN?

An e-file PIN is a self-selected PIN used to submit your return to the IRS. If you don't have an e-file PIN, you can use the prior years Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) to submit your return.

Does the IRS need my W-2 to process my return?

Tax returns should always be filed using the necessary documentation (W-2, 1099, etc). If your employer does not provide you with a W-2 then you may request a substitute W-2 with form 4852.

What is the difference between Child Tax Credit and Additional Child Tax Credit?

The Child Tax Credit reduces your tax liability whereas the Additional Child Tax Credit is a fully refundable credit.
Learn more about the differences by clicking here.

What is a cycle code and what does it mean?

A cycle code is a sequence of eight digits that translates to the calendar date in which you posted to the master file. It is found on the Account Transcript and looks like this example: 20180605

What is the PATH Act and how does it affect my return?

The Protecting American From Tax Hikes (PATH) Act is a law that was enacted in 2015. Part of the PATH Act effects those filing withe Earned Income Credit (EIC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) as those refunds cannot be issued prior to February 15th.

What is the difference between IRS accepted and approved?

The IRS ACCEPTED status on Where's My Refund (WMR) means your "return has been received and that it seems to have passed a basic check for completeness."  During the basic check, the IRS also looks for red flags such as fraud indicators. "Accepted" is usually the 1st status most taxpayers will see when they check the WMR, unless the tax return has been rejected.  We wrote more here about rejected returns. The initial basic review when you file your tax return includes checks by the IRS for things like whether your social security number has already been used and if forms/fields not completed or are missing. There are also other basic checks that the IRS uses. After this, your return will be processed and the next status is usually that a refund has been approved. The APPROVED status on Where My Refund indicates your "return has been processed and a refund is approved." "Approved" is usually the 2nd status taxpayers will see when they check the WMR if they are due a refund.  The status when your refund is approved will display a date that you can expect to receive a refund. You may see these terms used on the IRS Where’s My Refund website or the IRS2Go App. Also, tax filing companies such as H&R Block and TurboTax use similair terms to describe your return status on their websites, emails and text message updates.            

What happened with Turbo Tax and Form 8692?

During the early test batch Turbo Tax was made aware of  the Form 8692 popping up on some of their customers returns while they were filing and it wouldn't let them continue past this form and it wasn't needed, at first Turbo Tax tried getting the customers to delete this form, but some found this option difficult and confusing, so they started telling them to just leave lines blank or to place zeros, after entering this info they were able to continue filing. However once they were accepted by the IRS  and started processing through the system the returns started getting rejected. The production logs state they had a fix in place as of 1/22/2015. So we are hopeful this issue has been resolved. There were additional concern about people using other tax companies to refile instead of staying with Turbo Tax  even though they were told by turbo tax their returns would be automatically resubmitted which could result in 2 returns being submitted. These people were concerned about this and we have been informing them if one goes in first the other return should be rejected. We were also made aware of a potential problem by our administrator's source within the IRS of another issue with Form 8680 Here is the link:   Info Here

How do I order transcript for tax return?

IRS Transcripts can be ordered by phone or online.  The IRS can provide an account or return transcript to you by mail or online. The phone number to order IRS Transcripts is (800) 908-9946 and allows you to order account transcripts or return transcripts. To order a tax return transcript or tax account transcript online visit the IRS.gov website here:  Order IRS Transcript

What is the difference between daily and weekly accounts

The difference between IRS daily and weekly accounts is when information posts to the master file.  According to the IRS Manual, our users have read that daily accounts post within 4 days and weekly account post within 7 days. Most taxpayers will fall into the daily “accelerated” processing. If you are in a weekly account, your refund will “post” within a week of being accepted and your DDD will be scheduled for the following Thursday. Account conditions that prevent accounts from being marked daily are conditions such as (list is not all inclusive): 1. ITIN Accounts 2. Foreign Addresses 3. Campus Addresses 4. Identity Theft Indicators 5. Prisoner File 6. Related MFT 31 Account (e.g., Bankruptcy, Offer-In-Compromise, Installment Agreements, Innocent Spouse) 7. Criminal Investigation Activity 8. Civil Penalty Account (MFT 55) 9. Tax Module History (two years prior) with CI, Exam or Collection Activity  

What is Tax Topic 152

Tax Topic 152 from the IRS is a code you might see when you check the status of your refund with the Where's My Refund (WMR) tool at the irs.gov website.  It is not an audit...chill.  What does IGMR think?  Tax Topic 152 is a default processing message that appears while your return is processed. No worries. Some people believe you get Tax Topic 152 just before you get approved for a direct deposit date (DDD), and some people receive this as soon as they get their status update on the WMR (Where's My Refund) which shows their return was received, but whichever way you get it here is what the IRS.GOV says about Tax Topic 152:

Tax Topics - Tax Topic 152 Refund Information

Tax Topic 152 - Refund Information There are three options for receiving your federal individual income tax refund:
  • The fastest way is by direct deposit (electronic funds transfer) into your checking or savings account, including an individual retirement arrangement (IRA);
  • By purchase of U.S. Series I Savings Bonds; or
  • By paper check sent to the address listed on your return.
 

A refund date will be provided when available. What does that mean?

There is much speculation about the "A refund date will be provided when available" message you may see when your check your Where's My Refund (WMR) status.  Taxpayers report seeing the message when the graphic image of the WMR bars disappeared.  In 2015, an IGMR user posted the following comment; however, we were able to confirm their identity and the information may still be just a guess or tall tale.  You be the judge.
Name: Official Submitted on 2015/01/16 at 9:41 pm I can not give my name, but to shed a little light on every one. Our test batch consisted of 35,000 efiled returns. Every last test batch return has to be done processing before opening day and issued ddd’s to clear the system for incoming returns. If your bar has dissappered yu are completely processed so no worries. If your bar and return amount has dissappered either your being reviewed, have an offset or owe an debt.

Does Where’s My Refund always display my refund status with the tracker showing three steps?

No. In some cases the tracker graphic will not be shown if your return is being reviewed prior to step two: “Refund Approved,” and instead an explanation or instructions will be provided depending on the situation. This can happen even if you previously checked Where’s My Refund and it showed the status as “Return Received” along with the tracker. In these cases be assured that we have your tax return and we are processing it. Please follow the directions provided by Where’s My Refund?. Otherwise if we need more information we will contact you – usually by mail. If we send you a letter about your return, please follow the instructions in the letter as soon as possible.

This does not mean an audit.  Reviewed can also mean processing.

What if I haven’t received my 1098T yet?

You should receive your 1098T by February 15th. If you haven’t received it by then you should contact your college or university.

How can I verify my identity if I got a 4884C/5071C notice?

You will need to call the IRS at the number provided in the notice. They may ask you a series of questions regarding your current and previous year's tax return so you will want have those handy along with the notice sent to you containing the control number used to verify your identity. If you are unable to provide them with the answers or do not have access to them, then they may ask you to visit a local IRS office.                                                                            Questions they may ask you:
  • Full name?
  • Address?
  • Filing status?
  • Secondary name on the return if filing jointly?
  • Did you report any income for a specific tax year?
  • What was your AGI?
  • Employer name(s)?
  • Did you have any business income for a specific tax year? If so, did you report a loss? Which line did you report the loss on?
  • Mother's maiden name/father's full name?
  • Did you claim any dependents? How many? Full name(s)? Date of birth(s)? Social security number(s)?
  • Are you expecting a refund for the most recent year? If so, how much?
  • How did you file? Paper or electronically?
  • Did you request a paper check or for direct deposit? Bank Name? Checking or savings? Account/routing number?

How long should I wait to check my tax return status?

E-file: 72 hours Mail: 4 weeks

How quickly will I get my refund?

There are many variables that affect this: including when you file, whether or not there are errors in your return, processing time, and delivery time.

Will calling the IRS give me additional information or speed my refund?

Calling the IRS will not speed up your refund because the representatives on the phone for the IRS are not the people who process the returns. But you may be able to get more information if your refund is delayed since the WMR seems to be hit or miss or might be producing a code or message indicating that you should call.

What might cause a taxpayer’s return to take longer to process?

There are many reasons your tax return could be taking longer to process than you expected.  Some of the common errors are simple mistakes.  For example, your tax return could be slow to process because of incorrect social security number(s) for any of the joint taxpayers or dependents listed on your return, incorrect address, incorrect bank information (e.g., routing numbers, account numbers), if you use direct deposit.)

What is the IRS Processing Cycle?

The cycle in which the Martinsburg Computing Center (MCC) posts returns processed by campus and selects returns. The cycle is expressed by a six digit code. The first four digits represent the file year, the second two digits represent the week of that file year (e.g., Cycle 201204 is the fourth week of the 2012 file year).

What does it mean when people say they are “ghosts”?

Jenny on March 7, 2012 at 9:25 am. “Ghost” means that the IRS reps say the IRS has no record of you – that you don’t exist in their system. There were many “ghosts” here in February. One posted as “Casper’ :)

Has anyone received refund without the WMR being updated?

Yes, we have has reports from a few people that they received their refund and the WMR never updated from the 'being processed" message. Though it has happened, it doesn't seem to be the trend; most people get a hard direct deposit date as an indicator that they are finally through this nonsense.

Who is SBBT?

Santa Barbara Bank and Trust (SBBT) is one of the banks used by Turbo Tax for refund processing if you chose to have TurboTax deduct their fees from your refund. (Meaning you didn't pay the fee with credit/debit card before filing). Your refund status can be checked at their site if your refund is being transferred from them: https://cisc.sbtpg.com/

What is a transcript?

A tax return transcript shows most line items from your tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes you, your representative or the IRS made after the return was filed. In many cases, a return transcript will meet the requirements of lending institutions such as those offering mortgages and for applying for student loans. A tax account transcript shows any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after the tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

What does IGMR think about transcripts?

Please see the various posts from our users about this topic old threads can be found on the Hot tab or in the forums. jemar707311 (admin) said: Ordering transcript can only definitively mean you exist to the IRS. However, it has been a theory around here that after transcript success, you have made some progress and are likely o get a hard DD soon. But please kep in mind that it has also been reported that after success at transcript, you could still be held up for various reasons. I just don’t want this site to ever lead someone down the road of rejoicing or exploding based on us providing “definitive” type information that could be inaccurate. Please if you are offering your advice or experience, whether it be re: transcript or any other matter, to ensure that you communicate to people that your comments are your experience or opinion. I want people to be able to come here and read everything, and then chew the information around to make their own informed decisions or theories. Please do not tell people “you should” or “that means”, without a disclaimer… lol ma4pa.igmr (mod) said: I don’t see the need to order them one reason, its a burden on an already overburdened system. While it may mean you are out of processing it doesnt mean you are getting a HDD in fact your return may still have other issues, some who have their transcripts still have no money and no HDD, others have received blank transcript with no info on them. So I don’t recommend ordering them. But the choice is yours.

What number to I call to check the status of my tax refund or speak to a human?

Many phone numbers and refund site links are listed on our Links page. If you find that any of these references are not valid or you find additional numbers/links, please send an email to us at to update it for other users too.

What is a Tax Advocate?

According to the IRS website: The Taxpayer Advocate Service is Your Voice at the IRS!

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, such as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food; taxpayers who are seeking help in resolving problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are ten things every taxpayer should know about TAS:

1. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is your voice at the IRS.
2. Our service is free and tailored to meet your needs.
3. You may be eligible for our help if you have tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you believe an IRS procedure just isn't working as it should.
4. The worst thing you can do is nothing at all!
5. We help taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation. This includes businesses as well as individuals.
6. If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn.
7, We have at least one local taxpayer advocate office in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and in Pub. 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service -- Your Voice at the IRS. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.
8. As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our tax toolkit at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.
9. TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System.

Source: IRS.gov Taxpayer Advocate

What does IGMR think about Tax Payer Advocates?

According to the IRS website: The Taxpayer Advocate Service is Your Voice at the IRS!

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, such as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food; taxpayers who are seeking help in resolving problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are ten things every taxpayer should know about TAS:

1. The Taxpayer Advocate Service is your voice at the IRS.
2. Our service is free and tailored to meet your needs.
3. You may be eligible for our help if you have tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you believe an IRS procedure just isn't working as it should.
4. The worst thing you can do is nothing at all!
5. We help taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation. This includes businesses as well as individuals.
6. If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn.
7, We have at least one local taxpayer advocate office in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and in Pub. 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service -- Your Voice at the IRS. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.
8. As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our tax toolkit at www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov can help you understand these rights.
9. TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System.

Source: IRS.gov Taxpayer Advocate

I need help with rent or utilities, where can I find financial assistance while waiting for my refund?

How can I find out the status of my state income tax?

State Income Tax Info:

Alabama 800-558-3912

Arizona 602-255-3381 or 800-352-4090

Arkansas 501-682-0200 or 800-438-1992

California 800-852-5711

Colorado 303-238-3278

Connecticut 860-297-5962

Delaware 302-577-8784

Florida 850-488-8937

Georgia 877-423-6711

Hawaii 808-587-4242

Idaho 208-334-7660

Illinois 800-732-8866

Indiana 317-232-2240

Iowa 515-281-4966

Kansas 800-894-0318

Kentucky 502-564-1600

Louisiana 225-219-0102

Maine 207-626-8475

Maryland 800-218-8160

Massachusetts 800-392-6089

Michigan 517-373-3200

Minnesota 651-296-3781

Mississippi 601-923-7801

Missouri 573-526-8299

Montana 866-859-2254

Nebraska 800-742-7474

New Mexico 505-476-3778

New York 518-457-5149

North Carolina 877-252-4052

North Dakota 701-328-2770

Ohio 800-282-1780

Oklahoma 405-521-3160 or 800-522-8165 (in-state toll free)

Oregon 503-378-4988

Pennsylvania 717-787-8201

Rhode Island 801-297-2200

South Carolina

Utah 801-297-2200

Vermont 802-828-0145

Virginia 804-367-2486

West Virginia 304-558-3333

Wisconsin 866-947-7363

When does WMR update?

WMR updates daily with mass updates on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Why has the amount of my refund been reduced?

If an individual owes money to the federal government because of a delinquent debt, the Treasury Department can offset that individual's federal payment or withhold the entire amount to satisfy the debt. The debtor is notified in advance of any offset action to be taken. Individuals may call (800) 304-3107 with questions about a delinquent debt.

My spouse and I filed a joint tax return and our refund was offset for a debt that my spouse owes. What must I do to receive my portion of the refund?

Complete IRS Form 8379, which you can obtain by calling the IRS toll-free at (800) 829-3676 or by downloading the form from the IRS Web site at Link For assistance with completing the form, call your local IRS office or the IRS toll-free number (800) 829-1040.

What is the “one liner” people talk about on WMR?

Your tax return has been received and is being processed.

When is the WMR available?

Where's My Refund is available almost all of the time. However, the system is is not available Monday, early, from 12:00 am (Midnight) to 3:00 am Eastern Time.

Change of Address and Refund Trace features are not available during the following times (Eastern Time):

  • Sunday 12:00 am (Midnight) to 7:00 pm
  • Monday 12:00 am (Midnight) to 6:00 am
  • Tuesday 3:30 am to 6:00 am
  • Wednesday 3:30 am to 6:00 am
  • Thursday 3:30 am to 6:00 am
  • Friday 3:30 am to 6:00 am
  • Saturday 3:30 am to 6:00 am and 9:00 pm to Midnight

How do I request Audit Reconsideration?

If you decide to request audit reconsideration, please send your request to the address of the IRS Campus shown on your Examination Report. Andover Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 9053 Stop 823 Andover, MA 01810-0953 Phone 1-866-897-0177 Atlanta Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 48-389 Stop 54A Doraville, GA 30362 Phone 1-866-897-0177 Austin Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 934 Stop 4103 Austin, TX 78767 Phone 1-866-897-0177 Brookhaven Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 9005 Stop 611, Team 406 Holtsville, NY 11742 Phone 1-866- 897-0161 Cincinnati Campus Internal Revenue Service CIRSC P.O. Box 308 Stop 8202 Covington, KY 41012 Phone 1-866-897-0161 Kansas City Campus Internal Revenue Service P3 Stop 4200 Kansas City, MO 64999 Phone 1-866-897-0177 Fresno Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 12067 Stop 82206 Fresno, CA 93776 Phone 1-866-897-0177 Memphis Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 30086 Stop 8236 Memphis, TN 38130-0086 Phone 1-866-897-0161 Ogden Campus Internal Revenue Service P.O. Box 9036 Stop 4440 Ogden, UT 84201 Phone 1-866-897-0161 Philadelphia Campus Internal Revenue Service Exam Recon, M/S 4-E08-141 2970 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19104 Phone 1-866-897-0161 Source: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p3598.pdf

What is an HDD versus a DD?

These terms are thrown around when discussing the dates provided by the WMR. HDD was coined as "hard direct deposit" because the language from WMR says something about "your refund will be deposited on XX" and trends tell us that this is usually a firm (hard) date that doesn't hange and pretty accurate. A DD (direct deposit) date however is used to describe the various dates WMR spits out: "refund will be processed by...". We look at DD dates as more of ballpark and they are often changed with various WMR messages and also your refund is usually not deposited on a DD date. The good news happy dance is for when you see a HDD because you likely can count on it being close to the day you will get your refund.

 

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