HOUSTON - Many of you tell us you're not only still waiting for your stimulus check, you haven't received your IRS tax refund after months of waiting, either. And that's creating a financial hardship.
The IRS just announced this week it is not currently able to process paper tax returns. That's one explanation for delays.
We don't know whether tax refunds and stimulus check delays are connected. The IRS did not respond to our questions today, but we did find some answers about delays on the IRS website.
"It said on Turbo Tax I would receive my refund by March 7th," said taxpayer Ninfa Bridges, who's still waiting for that refund.
Adds taxpayer Diane O'Dell about calling the IRS, "Every time I've called, there's nobody there. Nobody's answering the phone. But how do I get my check?"
"Still to this point, no refund, no stimulus check," said Bridges.
The IRS says it is has processed 113 million of 125 million individual tax returns it has received so far this year.
For those delayed, here are explanations from the IRS website:
1. The average refund takes 21 days, some banks may take a few more days to post it.
2. If you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, it takes longer to verify that information.
3. If you owe back debt on child or spousal support, federal student loans, or state or federal taxes, your refund can be garnished.
4. Delays can be due to errors, an incomplete form, a return needing further review, or you've been hit by identity theft.
5. If you file form 8379, the Injured Spouse Allocation form, it could take 14 weeks to process. Amended returns can take 16 weeks.
6. If there's a problem depositing your refund into your bank account, your refund gets converted to a paper check and mailed to you.
These are some explanations, but taxpayers say they don't make the long wait any easier.
"My husband, bless his soul, is out there working 40 hours a week and it's a trying time right now," said O'Dell.
"We are in May, almost 15th, almost two months," said Bridges.
Here are several links to help you with your tax returns and stimulus check questions:
For Tax Return Updates:
IRS phone lines are still closed, but you can check the status of your tax refund here: https://www.irs.gov/refunds or on the IRS2Go app. The IRS website says if your response says return received, that means it's still being processed. If it says "approved," that means they are processing the refund. The site is updated nightly.
You can also check the status of your return through an automated phone line, 800-829-1954. (This line has no information on Economic Impact Payments.)
Taxpayers who mail correspondence to the IRS should expect to wait longer than usual for a response.
You can also reach out to an IRS Tax Payer Advocate through www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov.
Tax refund frequently asked questions:
For Stimulus Check Updates:
You can check the status of your stimulus check on the site https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment.
The IRS says paper stimulus checks are going out now, to the lowest income recipients first, and should start arriving late May/early June. Some may take until August.
Answers on stimulus checks.
IRS operations and answers during the pandemic.
If you believe your stimulus check or tax refund were stolen, visit www.IdentityTheft.gov, the government’s resource to report identity theft and develop a recovery plan. Click “Get started.” When it asks, “Which statement best describes our situation?” click the line that says, “Someone filed a Federal tax return – or claimed an economic stimulus payment – using my information.”