In a previous blog post, we discussed the PATH Act.  This is the Federal law that caused the refund delays for 2017 and is expected to be the new normal for refunds for years to come.

Now the IRS has started funding those delayed refunds.  Here are a few tips on getting paid faster and what to expect if you filed your taxes with a dealership or retail outlet: – this is where you can track the status of your refund 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Within 12-36 hours of your refund becoming available to your dealer to print, you status will change to “Funds Sent To Dealership”.  It is common that you will know the money is coming before the dealer knows.

If you see this new status, CALL your dealer first!  Your check may not be ready for another 12-36 hours, so you do not want to waste a trip over there if the check has not been printed.  The dealer will call you once the check is ready.

Plan on where you will take the check – With so much money being released by the IRS at the same time, it is possible that some local bank and check cashing locations could run out of money to give you.  If you do not need all of the money within the first 48-72 hours of getting paid, deposit it into an account.

Remember, when bank locations run low on cash, they can limit how much can be given to each person without advance notice.  Regardless of what time of year it is, many Bank Of America locations require a minimum of 24 hours notice to cash a check over $4,000 or $5,000.

If you use a check cashing service, they might appreciate a heads up too.

Patience – Do NOT make essential decisions that are purely based on your money showing up on a particular date!  If says you are to be paid on March 3rd, read the few sentences after that.  It says to not call the IRS about delayed funds until March 10th.

This means that it can take a few days for money to clear the banking systems.  The IRS often releases funds in the evening.  So if you payment date is Friday, March 3rd, you may not be able to get your hands on the money until following business day, which is Monday the 6th…possibly the 7th.

Tax Refund Liens – Did Uncle Sam intercept your refund because they think you owe child support, defaulted student loans, or back state or federal taxes?  This can cause another few days or a week of delay before you get paid.  The US Treasury Department has to take their cut before you get yours.

If you do get your refund and it is short, you will get a letter from the agency that seized your refund within 2-4 weeks with a receipt for the amount taken.

One trick to know quicker is to look at your dollar amount.  After fees, if your refund was supposed to be $8,075.05 and you get back $6,870.22, it almost always means that you had a debt.  The hint is that pennies were taken in addition to the dollars.

You can also call the Treasury Offset Hotline at 1-800-304-4107.  This number will often tell you what agency is involved and how much they took.

IRS Audits – If your refund check was supposed to be $8,075.05 and you receive $5,412.05, there is a 99% chance that there is an audit letter coming.

When the IRS takes a flat & even dollar amount, they are probably withholding money for the Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, or some other deduction or credit.

Your last tip is to not spend your entire refund.  Save some for later.  Start a rainy day fund.  Keep some to the side for the down payment on your next car.  Keep some to the side for repairs to your home or to an existing vehicle.  By saving money for yourself later, you can live life a little easier in case a problem arises.