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      IMO there must be a method to the madness. I highly doubt an agency that relies so heavily on precision can act as randomly as many of us perceive. Last year I started a thread entitled “Is there a Pattern” under the username E (I actually went by Typhoon Dragon as well but it’s a long story). Anyway, as I’ve been reading the posts here and elsewhere I realized that in order to determine if there was a pattern at all I would first have to understand what happens during the life cycle of an individual tax return. What’s actually going on between point A (the receipt of our forms at the IRS) and point B (the receipt of our refunds in our accounts)? For people to file and be accepted on the same day yet receive their refunds days or even weeks apart suggests that some returns must take more steps between points A and B than others. Any insight on this would be greatly appreciated by me and may prove to be very useful to all of us.

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      retiredsgt says:
      February 4, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      The only things checked when your e-filed return is first submitted is a basic name-to-SSN match (first 5 letters of last name) and that none of the SSNs on the return have been used already. Birthdate to SSN checks are run on any children claimed on the return. I believe than any EINs from the W-2s are checked as valid/invalid as I’ve seen an occasional reject for a bad EIN.

      Once it’s accepted the system runs the usual checks for math errors and basic compliance, i.e verifying that exemption and standard deduction values match filing status and number of claimed exemptions, etc. and that any claimed credits are legally entitled.

      At this point returns are also reviewed for major fraud flags. Those vary from one year to the next and may even change during the season but popular ones are EIC fraud (dependents claimed as nieces and nephews, dependents moving around among taxpayers from one year to the next, self-employment income sufficient to qualify for a maximum EIC) and new for this year, the First Time Home Buyer Credit (qualifying purchase the same address as filed last year, duplicate claims using the same qualifying property address, no match with public property transfer records, etc.).

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