A delayed tax refund may mean your refund is being offset or put on hold temporarily. The IRS might just be verifying some information before releasing your refund, but it could also be an indication that you have some IRS tax problems.
A refund offset occurs when the IRS seizes some or all of your refund and applies it to your tax debt. If you don’t dispute that you owe the back taxes, there’s nothing you can do except try to resolve your tax problems. This way, you may be able to pay off or settle your tax debt so you can start receiving your refunds again.
Other government agencies can also seize your tax refund checks, even if you don’t owe the IRS any money. Your refund can be offset if you owe any of the following debts:
- State income taxes
- Federal non-tax debt, such as delinquent student loans
- Past-due child support payments
- Certain state unemployment compensation debts
You will receive a notice informing you of the offset. You should contact the agency listed on the notice to resolve your issues.
If your refund was offset on a joint return due your spouse’s non-marital debt, you may request an injured spouse allocation to receive your portion of the refund.
The IRS may also hold refunds in certain cases. This can occur when there is a suspected case of identity theft or some other issue that the IRS wants to sort out before releasing the refund.
One common issue that causes a refund hold is when a taxpayer hasn’t filed an old tax return. The IRS won’t release your current year refund until you file your return for a prior tax year.
For example, the IRS may hold your 2018 tax refund if you never filed your 2017 return and had a filing requirement. The IRS doesn’t know whether you might owe taxes for a prior tax year, and they won’t give you a refund this year until you resolve this problem.
The IRS can also hold your refund if you are under audit or if they are challenging some of the information on your return, such as your eligibility for certain tax credits. You should receive a notice in the mail explaining the reason for the delay and what you need to do next.
Consult a tax resolution attorney to figure out how to resolve your tax problems so you can start receiving your tax refund checks once again.
The Gartzman Law Firm offers tax settlement help for both federal and state tax debt. Use our contact form to request a consultation with an Atlanta tax resolution attorney.