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Where's My Refund?

Whether you have a refund coming or expect to pay when you file your return, electronic filing is the safest, easiest and most accurate away to file your federal and state tax returns. Pacific Northwest Tax Service has been preparing and E-filing tax returns for 25 years. Here are some important E-File facts and answers to frequently asked questions.

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SanDee Tharp, LTC

IRS Fraud Detection Program

In an effort to curtail identity theft and fraud, the IRS may delay some refunds until it is satisfied a tax return is authentic.  To learn more about the IRS' efforts to combat identity theft, see its Identity Theft, Fraud and Security web page.   If you receive a letter from the IRS asking you to call, you should do so immediately. 

Some Refunds are Delayed

Federal law now requires the IRS to hold tax returns that claim the Earned Income Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit until February 15 at the earliest.  For the 2018 filing season, IRS has announced it will hold refunds on these returns until February 27.

Is Electronic Filing Safe?

Yes, electronic filing is the safest and most accurate way to file your tax return. Electronic Filing eliminates the risk of your tax return being "lost" in the mail. E-file greatly reduces the risk of human-error that frequently occurs during the manual processing of paper tax returns.

How can I be sure my return has been filed?

Both the IRS and state governments provide an electronic acknowledgement to Pacific Northwest Tax Service that your tax return has been electronically accepted and is being processed. The IRS and Oregon also offer refund status information on their websites.

How fast will I receive my refund?

The IRS released more than 90% of refunds within 21 days last year. Both IRS and Oregon allow you to check the status of your refund(s) on their websites. To check the status of your refund, you will need the following information:

  1. Your filing status (Single, Head of Household, Married Filing Joint, Married Filing Separate or Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child.
  2. Your refund amount.
  3. Your social security number (If you filed a joint return, use the SSN for the spouse whose name is listed first on the tax return).


Where's My Refund?

How Can I Check on my IRS Refund?
You will be able to access information about your refund status as early as 4 or 5 days after we file your tax return electronically. The IRS will provide you with the following information about your refund as it becomes available:

1. Your tax return has been accepted and is being processed.

2. Your refund has been approved.

3. Your refund has been sent.

IRS - Federal Refund Facts
The IRS is fully transitioned to a new Modernized E-File system, called MEF, and the old Legacy E-file system has been retired. The IRS no longer publishes refund release dates and your refund could be released on any day of the week. Click on the link below to check the status of your refund and to see if your refund has been sent.


IRS logoCheck the status of your IRS refund

IRS's Website Says I Should Call Them, Now What?
If the IRS "Where's My Refund?" site instructs you to call a special phone number to provide additional information, you should do so immediately. Instructions of this kind may mean your tax return has been selected for review. IRS will not generally release a refund on a tax return that has been selected for review until the taxpayer provides additional information.

Oregon State Refund Facts
Oregon usually issues refunds within 2-weeks of receipt of an electronically filed return. If you are a part-year or non-resident of Oregon, your Oregon refund will not be issued before March.

Oregon State SealCheck the status of your Oregon refund

Do you guarantee a refund date?

NO - The IRS does not guarantee a specific refund date. You can check the status of your refund on the IRS website.

Why is my refund late?

Both IRS and state governments may delay or withhold your tax refund for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for a delayed refund are as follows:

  • You are claiming the Earned Income Credit.
  • You are claiming dependents on your tax return who have different last names than you do.
  • Your refund is over $5,000.
  • You are claiming the American Opportunity Tax Credit for higher education expenses.
  • You are a filing a federal tax return for the first time.
  • You are filing your first tax return in the last 10 years.
  • You have not filed one or more back-year tax returns.
  • The IRS needs to verify your identity to be sure it is you (and not a fraudster) that filed your tax return.
  • Your refund may be garnished or offset to pay certain types of delinquent debt that you owe. Both IRS and state refunds may be offset by the following kinds of debt you owe:
    1. Delinquent child support
    2. Delinquent student loans
    3. Unpaid back income taxes