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IRS Where’s My Refund tool not working for some taxpayers waiting for payments

A tool from the Internal Revenue Service is experiencing technical issues weeks after the start of tax season.

IRS Where’s My Refund tool not working for some taxpayers waiting for payments
[Photo: Stas_V/iStock]
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Eager taxpayers around the country are waiting for their much-needed 2020 refund checks after a delayed start to the tax season, but some are having difficulty using the online tool that let’s them know when they’ll get paid.

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The Internal Revenue Service began accepting returns on February 12, and for taxpayers who have set up direct deposit, refunds could begin to start appearing about three weeks after they file. Where’s My Refund, an online portal where taxpayers can check the status of their payments, has been glitchy or inaccessible for some visitors, with many taking to Twitter to vent their frustrations.

The IRS, for its part, acknowledged that the tool was experiencing issues in a tweet late Monday and has said it’s working to resolve the situation. We’ve reached out to the agency for an update and additional information.

The good news is, the IRS says delays with the tool do not mean that returns themselves have been delayed. In an update on its website, it noted that some visitors to the Where’s My Refund app might see the message “Return Received” even if they’ve already been issued a refund. Unfortunately, it also says people who are waiting for paper refund checks in the mail may have to wait a little bit longer because “It’s taking us longer to process mailed documents.”

The coronavirus pandemic has created additional urgency this year for Americans expecting tax refunds, particularly as many have not been able to rely on other forms of relief from the government. Millions of people lost work in 2020, and despite calls from economists for regular direct payments, Congress has authorized only two stimulus checks so far, with a third one expected in the coming weeks.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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