I don’t need to tell you how important getting your tax returns filled out and sent off is — if we fail to do so, we could be in some big trouble with the taxman!
In fact, it’s such a nerve-racking area of life, it can cause anxiety even after you’ve completed and submitted your return.
You’ve done everything you were supposed to, but there’s still a little voice in the back of your head worrying that something has gone wrong or that your return has not been received or filed by the IRS.
It can be even worse if you’re expecting a hefty refund, as if your return doesn’t get filed, you won’t get the money owed, and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already budgeted with that payment in mind.
So, let’s discuss how you can put these fears to rest and be sure your tax return has been filed.
Methods Of Ensuring Your Tax Return Has Been Filed
The approach you should take to confirm your return arrived at its destination will differ slightly depending on your circumstances and how you chose to submit. So, let’s take a look at all your options.
Hire A Professional Tax Preparer
A professional tax preparer is exactly what it sounds like: a person who is paid to handle all facets of income tax returns for an individual or business.
Although they aren’t employed by the IRS, you can think of them as having a VIP IRS pass.
The return will be sent digitally, and in most instances, a professional tax preparer will receive confirmation of its filing within a few minutes — not bad, right?
Your tax pro will then pass the good news on to you to instill some peace of mind. If you like, you’re more than welcome to request the confirmation in written form so you have something concrete to back the info up should you need to.
However, not everyone can afford to hire someone to handle their taxes for them, so let’s take a look at some of the more realistic confirmation methods.
Tax Preparation Software
Your next best bet is to use tax preparation software. These programs won’t completely do your tax returns for you as a human tax preparer would, but they can make filling out and submitting your returns a darn sight easier and quicker.
Once your return has been completed, you should be able to send it directly through the software interface as a digital submission.
You should then receive email confirmation from the software that everything has gone to plan. How long you’ll be waiting for this varies from program to program, but it should never be more than a few days.
Some of the more fleshed-out tax preparation software will also provide a link that takes you to a tracking mechanism, so you know exactly where you and your return stand at all times.
You’ll most likely be submitting your tax return digitally on the IRS’s platform, after which you should receive e-confirmation in a matter of days. If you don’t receive confirmation in this timeframe, the IRS urges you not to panic.
Sometimes there will be delays in the system, so you’re advised to wait at least 21 days before calling for more information.
This can be a little disconcerting if you filed late in the tax season, so I advise getting those returns sorted efficiently and sent off early.
A quicker means of checking on e-filing progress may be to log into your IRS account and look over your details. Oftentimes, confirmation of filing will be logged in this space.
Needless to say, posting your return by mail is the most sluggish method of submission, which means waiting for confirmation of its receipt can feel like an eternity.
The IRS suggests you wait at least 6 weeks for processing before calling for an update.
Again, if you left your tax return to the last minute, this can be a real nervy waiting period, so if this is your chosen way to submit, try to get it sorted early on.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that waiting times on the phone can be extensive, so be sure to set aside a significant portion of your day to get some answers.
What About Refunds? How Do I Get An Update On Payment Status?
The IRS knows that we’re eager to receive our tax rebates, so it uses a lot of resources to make sure we’re all informed of the repayment status as it’s processed.
In fact, if you’re due a refund, it’s one of the most efficient ways to get confirmation of your return’s filing status, as you can use the dedicated IRS refund page to track refund progress.
Simply head over to this page, supply all the necessary details, e.g. social security number and refund amount, and you’ll be informed of your refund status, and thus, that your tax return has officially been filed — hooray!
The information on the refund tracker should be updated at 24 hour intervals, so check daily if you want the most current news.
Using this tracker facility, unless the page tells you to, you won’t need to make any other contact with the IRS.
90% of all refunds are paid out within 21 days, so be sure to keep track; however, there are a number of reasons why this may not be the case.
- Firstly, if you submitted by mail or requested a payment in the form of a paper check, you’ll be waiting quite a bit longer.
- An error would be another spanner in the works, as the IRS will contact you about the mistake via mail rather than via email or a phone call.
- One final issue I hope you never have to face is fraudulent activity using your social security number. If your SSN has already been received on a previous return, the IRS will have to investigate, which will slow things down significantly.
There you have it.
There are multiple ways for you to check that your tax return has been filed. Which one you use depends on the manner in which you submitted your return, and you can keep a close eye on refunds using the IRS’s dedicated refund tracking system.