Where’s my Refund 2

published May, 2009

If you’re expecting a refund and it hasn’t arrived yet, you can check the IRS website https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp. You’ll need your SSN, filing status and the exact amount of the refund expected

It takes up to three weeks to get a refund if you e-file, six weeks if you paper file.

Don’t bother checking before7 days after e-filing, or 4-6 weeks if you filed on paper, they won’t have processed your return yet and the website will have no information for you.

For CA Franchise Tax Board, the web address is https://webapp.ftb.ca.gov/Refund/Login.aspx?Lang=en-us and they’ll want some address info, your SSN and refund amount expected.

If you GET an e-mail that says they have a ‘refund’ for you, but they just need you to verify a couple of things, or worse a phone call, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. The IRS doesn’t e-mail you to verify your information.

The newest scam is “unclaimed” economic stimulus package payment waiting for you. Something is waiting for you…but it isn’t money.

$7500 for new home buyers

published March, 2009

As part of the Economic Stimulus Package of ’08, Congress created a refundable “credit” for first time home buyers of $7,500 (a refundable credit: that means that even if you don’t owe tax, you can get the money! Its not just a tax offset.) I’ve put quotation marks around the word credit, because it’s really a no interest LOAN that they expect to be repaid over the next 15 years. They’re talking about making it not-a-loan, but as of today, nothing has changed.

One of my early filing clients who was eligible for this has already received her ‘credit’ funds and is using them to replace a sewer line to her new house.

You must have purchased between April 9 2008 and June 30, 2009, so there’s still time. And it’s not really $7,500, but that’s the maximum credit if your home cost $75,000 or more (you get 10%). And you have to purchase within the United States. If you owned a home in the three years prior, you don’t qualify. Repayments of $500 (for the max loan amount) will be added to your tax starting 2010 and continue until 2024. More details may be had at http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=187935,00.html.

Where’s my Refund?

published April, 2007

Paper filed Federal returns take up to six weeks, electronically filed returns take up to three weeks. (Amended return refunds take 8-12 weeks).

To check the status of your refund, the IRS has an on-line service called “Where’s My Refund?” at https://sa2.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp 
or you can call 800 829-1954, but they want you to wait 4 weeks after you mail your return to call.

You’ll need your Social Security Number, filing status (MFJ, Single, etc) and the exact amount of the refund shown on your return. Of course, it will be down this week-end, but should work after that. They say you can “run a trace” if you don’t receive your refund within 28 days.

California also has an on-line version at http://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/refund/index.asp and you’ll need your SSN, Mailing address and the refund amount.

Phone Excise Tax Refund (revisited)

published February, 2007

There seems to be some confusion about this.

To claim the refund for a business the “easy” way, you need the bill from April ’06 showing the amount of FET collected. There should be a line near the long distance charges that says “Federal Excise Tax.” You use this to compute the % of FET to total phone bill. Then we apply the % against the payments made to phone companies for the 41 months—so to calculate the credit, you need the April ’06 phone bill, and you need to know how much you spent on telephone in April ’06, September ’06, and the 41 months from March ’03 to July ’06.

Phone companies collected a tax from March ’03-August ’06 that was deemed unconstitutional, and they’re going to refund it on 2006 income tax returns. 

Individuals can figure the exact tax, or do a “standard” of $30 for a single person, $40 for a couple, $50 or $60. This tax is refundable.