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Tax filing: Has IRS resolved its refund glitch? (+video)

Tax filing electronically? You may have to  wait a little longer for your refund due to a glitch in the IRS's new electronic tax filing software.

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A still from an IRS tutorial video on how to check the status of your tax refund. The question 'where's my refund?' can now be answered online or on your smartphone.

Internal Revenue Service

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It's tax season, which means many of us have refunds coming. Unfortunately, many filers are having to wait a little longer for their refund checks this year.

Since February, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been dealing with a glitch in the software that handles electronic tax returns. As a result, millions of taxpayers have experienced delays, as well as a lag in accessing information about their refunds.

The problems, embarrassingly, come in the wake of the IRS's heavy promotion for its new modernized tax-filing system, which was geared at reducing the time people had to wait for their refunds. According to the IRS, the delays have generally affected those who filed their returns electronically in early February.

"Taxpayers who filed after Feb. 13 have not experienced delays," Dean Patterson, a spokesman for the IRS, wrote via e-mail. "The vast majority of taxpayers filing electronically and choosing direct deposit have continued receiving refunds in the 10-21 day time frame announced at the opening of the 2012 filing season."

Originally, refunds on electronically filed returns in 2012 had been projected to reach taxpayers within seven to 14 days, which would have been an improvement on 2011.

Still, "tax refunds are running ahead of last year," Mr. Patterson stresses. "Through late February, more than 45.2 million refunds have been issued this year, compared to 45.1 million for the comparable period last year." 

The refund delays follow other problems with the IRS website, including issues with the "Where's My Refund" feature. Taxpayers can click the "Where's My Refund?" link at irs.gov for information on how close their refunds are to reaching them. The IRS recommends checking the site 72 hours after if you have filed electronically; four weeks if you do it by mail. It requires a Social Security number, filing status (single, married, married filing separately, etc.), and exact refund amount.

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