‘The IRS Lost My Tax Return’: What You Should Do To Get Your Refund Money Back

Yes, it’s no joke that the IRS can lose your tax return. 

If you have completed your tax return and sent it to the IRS, but they then say they never received it — don’t panic. We’re here to help you, and remember, you’re not the only one caught up in this frustrating and worrying situation. 

We all know it’s not your fault, but this is Uncle Sam we’re dealing with, so keep reading to learn how to fix this problem and claim your refund back.

What should I do if the IRS lost my tax return? 

If you got a notice from the IRS saying that they never received your tax return (they most likely did receive it and lost it in the system), respond and do what they request you to do ASAP. They will likely ask you to resend a signed copy of your tax return. 

In case the IRS didn’t contact you, what you should do next depends on the original method you opted to file your tax return.

  • If you e-filed your tax return:

Whether you filed your tax return directly on the IRS website or through a third-party tax company or service like TurboTax or H&R Block, log into the account that you used to file your tax and check the status of your return. 

  • If your return was rejected: you would need to either correct the issues causing the rejections and e-file your return again or file the return by mail.
  • If the return was accepted: find and write down your declaration control number (DCN). It is a 14-digit number that is given to each tax return. Then contact the IRS at 800-829-1040 and tell them your DCN and the date you e-filed.

BONUS TIP: How to call the IRS 

To contact the IRS, dial 800-829-1040 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. local time, Monday to Friday. 

After choosing your language (press 1 for English), do NOT choose option 1, “Refund,” otherwise, you’ll be directed to an automated phone line. Instead, press 2 for “Personal Income Tax.” Then, press 1 for “Form, Tax History, or Payment,” ? press 3 “for all other questions,” ? press 2 “for all other questions.”  

After that, you should be connected with an agent.

  • If you sent your tax return by post:

If you mailed your return, print another copy and re-mail it to the IRS. Any copies of Forms W-2 for the return should be attached. If you paid the tax you owed, include a copy of your canceled check and confirmation of processed payment 

Sometimes, you may need to prove that you did put your return in the mail and sent it, so it’s best to use certified or registered mail. This way, you will be able to track your document and have a paper trail confirming you have sent it by post. 

More importantly, keep all of your receipts and photocopies of the envelope with a postmark or anything that can prove you sent it. They will serve as your concrete evidence if you need them to prove your tax return was indeed sent and the IRS lost it. 

If you’re looking for a tool to help you store those vital documents, Shoeboxed is your best choice. Shoeboxed is an online application that can quickly and securely digitize your receipts and documents and store them in the cloud. On top of that, it automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over your records anytime with ease. Shoeboxed ensures it provides you with accurate data and always keeps your receipts securely backed up and ready for tax purposes. 

You might also be interested in:

What’s next: When will I get my tax refund? 

Once you’ve resolved all the problems related to your returns, you enter the next ‘worrying stage’: When will I get my tax refund? No wonder why everyone hates dealing with taxes. 

Honestly, there’s nothing much you can do apart from waiting to hear from the IRS. According to the IRS, most tax refunds are issued within 21 days, while some may take longer if the return requires further review, which may be prompted by the following issues::

  • Your return includes errors
  • Your return is incomplete.
  • Your return is affected by identity theft or fraud.

The IRS will contact you by mail if extra information is needed to process your tax return.

To track and stay updated about the process of your refund, consider one of the following methods: 

  • Visit Where’s My Refund?: enter your Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), filing status, and the exact amount of your refund to check your refund status. 
  • Download the IRS’s mobile app IRS2go: prepare the same above-mentioned personal information details to track your refund. 
  • Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 (least recommended because as you probably know, you can easily get stuck waiting to speak to an agent.) 

Final thoughts 

It’s totally understandable if you feel panicked and stressed out when the IRS doesn’t receive your tax return. However, try to remain calm, re-file your tax return or prove to the IRS you did send it, then the IRS should quickly process your refund money.  
Try Shoeboxed NOW and get 25% off all plans

Your Complete Guide to the U.S. Tax Return Definition

Tax is the money paid by citizens and businesses to the government so that they can make roads, build and maintain public parks, fund the army, provide policing, offer schooling and education, and more. 

Have you ever wondered how the U.S. government decides how much tax each individual must pay? The government’s staff don’t go knocking at everyone’s door to examine our finances and then calculate our tax duty. No, in fact, we do the job ourselves — through a tax return. 

So, what is a tax return, exactly?

This article will introduce you to the tax return definition, give an overview of its three main sections, and answer the most frequently asked questions about this financial matter. 

Tax return definition 

A tax return, also known as a tax report, is a form or a set of forms issued by the government which you fill in to report your income, expenses, and other financial information. When you complete your tax return, you’ll know if you owe any money to the government and how much to pay. In the case that you overpaid your taxes, you can also request a refund by filing the tax return. 

The tax return form for individuals for United States federal taxes is Form 1040, whereas Form 1120 is for corporations, and Form 1065 is for partnerships.

See also: What Is Tax Season And How To Prepare For Your 2022 Tax Return

The three main sections of a tax return 

Typically, a tax return consists of the following three sections: 

Income 

The income section lists all your income sources, such as wages, salaries, dividends, self-employment income, and royalties. If you’re an employee, your income will be recorded in a W-2 form provided by your employer. 

Deductions 

Deductions, also known as tax write-offs, lower your tax liability, which essentially means the more deductions you claim on your tax return, the less tax you’ll have to pay. Just be aware and make sure you only claim deductions that you’re eligible for. 

Some typical deductions for individuals that you may be able to claim are interest paid on your mortgage or your student loans, charitable donations, and contributions to your retirement saving plans. For business owners, you can claim tax deductions for most expenses involved in business operations. 

Taxpayers can either take a standard deduction or itemized deductions. For those who opt for the former method, the standard deduction for the tax year 2022 is $12,950 for single filers, $25,900 for joint filers, and $19,400 for heads of households. The deduction amount may increase slightly each year to keep up with inflation. On the other hand, if you use itemized deductions for your tax return, you choose from various individual tax deductions rather than taking a fixed deduction amount. 

Tax credits  

Many people get confused between tax deductions and tax credits, so here is the key difference: deductions are subtracted from your taxable income while credits are subtracted directly from your total tax bill. For example, a tax credit of $1,000 will result in a $1,000 reduction in your tax bill. On the other hand, a $1,000 tax deduction lowers your taxable income (the amount of money you have to pay taxes on) by $1,000. So, if you are in the 22% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction would save you $220.

Tax credits cover a wide range of expenses and situations: you can get tax credits if you purchase solar panels for use in your home, or for child-dependent care and education credits, etc.

See more: How To File Taxes For The First Time: A Complete Guide To All Your Questions.

Who has to file a tax return? 

While most U.S. citizens and permanent residents who work in the United States need to file a tax return — not everyone must do it. Whether you have to file a tax return depends on your age, filing status, income level, and source of money.

To find out if you need to file a tax return this year, check out this detailed guideline from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service): Publication 501 (2021), Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information

What happens if I make a mistake on my tax return? 

If you filed your tax return incorrectly or failed to include something, you need to notify the IRS. To do so, you would need to file an amended return with the IRS using Form 1040-X. You can file it yourself or have a professional prepare it for you. If you don’t inform the IRS of these mistakes yourself, you could face financial penalties and pay interest. 

How can I track my refund? 

You can use the IRS Where’s My Refund? tool or call the IRS directly at 800-829-1954 to check on the status of your refund 24 hours after you e-file. The IRS will give you an exact refund date once your tax return and refund are approved.

You’ll likely receive your refunds in less than 21 days.

Final thoughts 

Understanding the definition of “tax return” and how it’s calculated will help you become more confident in dealing with this important financial process. As a result, you’ll gradually learn how to file your tax return quicker and more accurately. 

A great tip for everyone who wants to streamline their tax return filing process is to have your receipts organized. Receipts help you record transactions correctly and serve as concrete evidence for your deduction claims. It might be too much of a task to do yourself — and that’s where Shoeboxed comes in. 

Shoeboxed is a well-trusted tool to help businesses, freelancers, and DIY accountants store and organize their receipts. It quickly scans and digitizes your receipts and documents, then automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts. On top of that, Shoeboxed also helps you manage expenses, store business cards, and track business mileage easily, helping you boost productivity and bring in more revenue. 
Go paperless with Shoeboxed for FREE today!

Track The Status of Your Federal Tax Return Online

If you are still waiting to file your tax return, make sure the procrastination doesn’t stretch too much longer. If you have already filed your federal tax return, though, you can track the status of a refund, if you are due to receive one, online.

Check the status of your federal tax refund online
Check the status of your federal tax refund online

On the IRS’s main website, it has posted tools in both English and Spanish to help you track down the status of your refund. With Where’s My Refund? and ¿Dónde está mi reembolso?, you’ll know up-to-date information about your refund anytime, and can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

Information should be available about 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges that they have received your return. 3-4 weeks is the wait if you filed with a hard copy.

To get your personalized refund information you must enter:

  • Your Social Security Number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number).
  • Filing status (Single, Married Filing Joint Return, Married Filing Separate Return, Head of Household, or Qualifying Widow(er)).
  • Exact refund amount shown on your tax return.

Once you enter your personal information, you could get several responses, including:

  • Acknowledgement that your return was received and is in processing.
  • The mailing date or direct deposit date of your refund.
  • Notice that the IRS could not deliver your refund due to an incorrect address. In this instance, you can change or correct your address online using Where’s My Refund?

For those of you that have not filed a return, it is certainly not too late. Be sure to check out free tax software like TaxACT that can help your figure out your tax return so that you know you are filing accurately.

DISCLAIMER:

This entry is for information only and does not constitute tax advice, nor does it serve as legal advice. There is no intent to create, nor does this blog site constitute, a professional tax practitioner/client relationship. You need to consult with your tax professional prior to acting on any item of information you learn on this site.

Tax laws change from time to time, and are different in various locations.