How to Check the Status of My IRS Tax Refund

How to Check the Status of My IRS Tax Refund

If you are waiting on a tax refund from the government, it can feel like it’s taking forever to get to you. Thankfully, technology has made it easier to track your refund so that you can have a better idea of when you will be receiving your hard-earned money. The IRS has created three main ways to check the status of your refund. You can check your refund online through the IRS website, by downloading the IRS mobile app, or via the IRS Refund Hotline.

Check the Status of my IRS Refund Online:

The first way to check your refund status is through the IRS website. You can easily log on to and click “Refund Status”. You will need your social security number (or ITIN), your filing status, and your exact refund amount. From this second page you will click “Check My Refund Status” and a page will open where you can enter your information. Fill in the boxes asking for your social security number, your filing status, and your refund amount and click “submit”. If all your information is entered correctly, your refund status will come up.

Check the Status of my IRS Refund via Mobile App:

The second way to check your refund status is through the IRS mobile app. The IRS2Go app is available for download on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Once you open the app it will ask you for the same information (social security number, filing status, and refund amount). Enter this information and click “get status”. If you have entered everything correctly, your refund status will appear right on your phone screen.

Check the Status of my IRS Refund via the IRS Refund Hotline:

If you do not have internet access, you can call the IRS Refund Hotline at 800-829-1954. This option is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. When you call in, you will have the option to check your refund status in English or Spanish. You will need to have your social security number, filing status, and refund amount available. Follow the prompts in order to hear your refund status.

Since technology doesn’t always work perfectly, you may run into issues where you need to call the IRS and talk to a live person. This can be very time consuming, so it should be your last option. The IRS only recommends calling them if it has been more than 21 days since you filed online, if it has been more than six weeks since you mailed in your return, or if you get an error message on their website that tells you to call them. IRS employees are available if you need your questions answered, but be prepared to wait on hold for quite some time.

The IRS processes approximately 148 million individual tax returns every year. That’s a lot! You will need some patience, but your tax refund will be in your hands in no time!

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

The Fastest Way to Get a Tax Refund

The Fastest Way to Get a Tax Refund

Waiting on your tax refund from the IRS can seem like it’s taking forever. This can bring feelings of anticipation, impatience, and even frustration. There are a few things you can do to make sure your refund gets to you faster and without a delay.

Having Correct Information on Your Tax Documents

If you verify that all of your information is correct on your tax return before filing, it will ensure that the IRS does not have an issue getting your refund to you. The less mistakes on your return, the faster you will receive your refund. It is important to double check to make sure you typed in your social security number correctly. If you typed in just one wrong number, the whole tax return would be thrown off. It would also be a good idea to verify all of your other information is correct.

No Offsetting Debts

To receive your refund quicker, make sure you don’t owe any outstanding debts before filing your taxes. Since the IRS can (and will) apply your refund to any outstanding debts, you will be in much better shape if you don’t owe this money to begin with. This includes debts such as unpaid child support, past due federal student loans, federal agency non-tax debts, state income tax obligations, and certain unemployment compensation debts. To ensure you receive your tax refund quickly, pay off any debts you may owe before filing your tax return.

Electronically File Your Return

The quickest way to receive your tax refund is to electronically file your tax return. By doing this, the IRS can begin to process your tax return quicker. When you electronically file your taxes, the IRS estimates it will take less than 21 days for you to receive your refund. If you decide to mail in a paper return, you will be waiting much longer for your refund to get to you. It could take up to 6-8 weeks for your tax return to be processed.

File Your Tax Return Sooner Rather Than Later

If you are among the first to file your tax return, the IRS will be able to begin working on your refund sooner than those who have not filed their taxes yet. If you wait until the last minute, chances are it will take longer for the IRS to process your refund due to the large volume of tax returns everyone else has sent in all at the same time.

Direct Deposit

Direct deposit is the best way to receive your refund. It will get to you much quicker than a live paper check. Also, paper checks can get lost in the mail and never make it to you. With direct deposit, you are guaranteed to have the funds directly deposited into your bank account.

Keep an Eye on Your Refund Status

Check on your refund status through the “Where’s My Refund” tool. If you notice an error, you can act quicker. Keep yourself aware of what is going on so there are no last-minute surprises.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Understanding 5 Ways The IRS Could Reduce Your Tax Refund

Understanding 5 Ways The IRS Could Reduce Your Tax Refund

Understanding 5 Ways The IRS Could Reduce Your Tax Refund

Each year over 150 million Americans file their federal income tax return with the IRS. Of that number nearly 70% receive tax refunds. If you were due a tax refund and you did not receive it from the IRS there are a few ways to know why that was.

Here we will will explain the eight ways you may experience a deduction or complete garnishment of your tax refund. Millions of Americans each year are surprised with reduced refunds that they may need to take care of important expenses such as food, shelter, clothing, medical costs, education, and incidentals. We want to create awareness of how to deal with these situations in a timely manner.

Overdue Federal Tax Debts

In 2017, Congress directed the IRS to four private debt-collection firms. There task, to collect nearly $400 billion owed by US taxpayers. The agency also set exception to follow an existing rule to make sure taxpayers have a satisfactory means to pay for basic expenses. What does this mean, the IRS will still garnish your tax refund up to the amount you owe.  The last amount reported for Americans who have some form of federal tax debt is roughly 10 million taxpayers.

The rules on federal tax debts are pretty simple. The IRS is clear, “If you owe a debt that’s past-due, it can reduce your federal tax refund. The Treasury Department’s Offset Program can use all or part of your refund to pay outstanding federal or state debt.” This means even if were are are expecting a large refund, the full amount owed can be garnished.

There are ways to view your account through the IRS website. If you’re an individual taxpayer, you can use this tool to see your current balance.

Past-due child support

Past due child support can affect over 6.5 million Americans. In 2013, there was approximately      $32.9 billion dollars in child support was owed. Of this amount only 65% was received. Child support is similar to federal tax debts in that the IRS can take the refund up to the amount that is currently owed. The main difference is child support is regulated by state. Various states have different reporting practices.

Your state and local office will have more information regarding where to pay and provide you with a statement of your current balance to-date.

Federal agency non-tax debts

If you owe a federal agency there is a shot the agency will garnish your wages. For example, if you have a $7,000 tax refund, but you owe $2,000 in past-due to the Department of Education. The state could garnish that debt from your federal tax refund. Like Child Support, Federal agency non-tax debts can be deducted from any tax refund.

Federal agency non-tax debts include past due or defaulted student loan payments, payments on HUD loans and any fines, penalties or fees due to any federal department. If you’ve accepted overpayments or fraudulent payments on Social Security or disability benefits or other federal insurance programs, these debts may also cause your refund amount to be reduced.

State income tax debt

Like the IRS, state revenue departments assess penalties and interest on tax debt. Each state revenue partner has its own particular stipulations with state tax debt. The definite states that will garnish your federal tax refund include Community Colleges and Department of Motor Vehicles. Many states have the right to submit your debts to the federal Treasury Offset Program, however not all states do.

Student loan debt

Tax refund offsets are one of the government’s powerful tools to collect federal student loans. Digital records of all borrowers in default are sent to the IRS each year. There are few ways to dispute student loan debt offsets. I have listed the most common below:

  • You have repaid the loan,
  • It is not your loan or there is some other reason why you do not owe the money,
  • You have already entered into a repayment agreement with the loan holder and are making payments as required,
  • You have filed for bankruptcy and the case is still open or the loan was discharged in bankruptcy,
  • The school failed to pay you an owed refund,
  • The borrower is dead or totally and permanently disabled,
  • The loan is not enforceable, for example because of forgery, or
  • You are eligible for a closed school discharge or false certification discharge.

It’s important to know, because there is no statute of limitations for federal loans, the IRS can offset your taxes for every year your federal student loans are in default. If you receive a letter from the IRS at anytime notifying you of a potential offset for a student loan you have three options:

1. Request a review to challenge the offset.

2. Agree to pay the debt.

3. Do nothing.

Make sure to always keep your address updated with the IRS and let us know if you have student loan debt at

The federal Treasury Offset Program gives the U.S. Treasury Department the right to withhold your federal tax refund to satisfy certain types of debts you may have incurred. Stay up to date on your standing with various agencies, it is like your credit score with these agangeis and you want to avoid any surprises, penalty fees, and interest.

What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?

What is the Lifetime Learning Credit?

The lifetime learning credit is a provision of the U.S. federal income tax code that allows parents and students to lower their tax liability by up to $2,000 to help offset higher education expenses. The lifetime learning credit matches the money that has been spent by parents or students on tuition, but only up to $2,000. To be eligible for the lifetime learning credit, you must receive a Form 1098-T from the school you paid tuition and fees to.

Who Qualifies for the Credit?

In order to qualify for the lifetime learning credit, you must have made tuition and fee payments to a post-secondary school during the year that you are filing taxes for. The credit can be claimed for any post-secondary classes you take. You don’t necessarily have to be studying a certain subject or working toward a specific degree. If you earn too much income during the year, you may not be eligible to claim this credit. This will also depend on your filing status.

To be able to qualify for the credit, you must meet all of the following requirements for the year you are filing taxes for: you pay qualified education expenses for higher education, you pay the education expenses for an eligible student who is enrolled at an eligible educational institution, and the eligible student must be yourself, your spouse, or a dependent that you have listed on your tax return.

How to Calculate the Credit

To calculate the credit, you can include the cost of tuition and fees that are required for enrollment. As of 2017, the maximum amount you can claim is 20% of up to $10,000 in eligible costs (or $2,000). To be able to claim the lifetime learning credit, you will need to fill out Form 8863. At the end of the year, the school that you paid tuition to should send you a Form 1098-T that shows you your eligible costs.

How to Fill Out IRS Form 8863

You will want to begin with Part III on the form. This is where you will fill in all of the student and educational institution information. You will also answer questions about the student’s enrollment and whether or not the student received a Form 1098-T. Once you have completed this section, move to Part II for the lifetime learning credit. Part I of the Form 8863 is only for people who are claiming the American Opportunity Credit. You are not able to fill out both sections for the same student. You can only claim one credit.

No Double Benefits

You are not able to claim the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit in the same year. The IRS only allows one tax reduction per student, per year. Since the maximum credit is $2,500 for the American Opportunity Credit, you may want to determine if you are eligible to claim this credit before claiming the Lifetime Learning Credit. But remember, you must choose one or the other…not both.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Tax Offset from Child Support

Tax Offset from Child Support

Child Support is a court ordered payment that is made by a noncustodial parent to the parent that is caring for the child on a day-to-day basis for financial support of one’s minor child or children. Even after divorce or separation, both parents still owe a legal obligation to financially support their children. This obligation is carried out through child support payments that are mandated by the courts. Child support helps cover the basic needs of the children on a monthly basis.

When You Get Behind on Paying Child Support

When a noncustodial parent gets behind on paying their child support payments, state child support agencies report this information to the Department of Treasury. These agencies submit the names, social security numbers, and past due amounts in order to try and collect the outstanding debt for the custodial parent. When the treasury is processing tax refunds they are able to intercept or offset tax refunds for noncustodial parents with a past-due child support balance. Instead of sending the funds from a tax return to an individual, the funds will be sent to the appropriate child support agency to pay the past-due child support balance. Since child support is put in place by a judge through the legal system, there is no way to get around it or to get out of paying it.

Notice of Offset

If your tax refund is intercepted to pay off a past-due child support debt, you will receive a letter in the mail from the Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service. This letter is more formally known as a Notice of Offset. The Notice of Offset will inform the noncustodial parent that either all or part of their tax refund was intercepted to be applied to the outstanding child support debt. The Treasury will then send these funds to the appropriate child support agency.

How to Prevent This from Happening

The only way to prevent your IRS tax refund from being offset for past-due child support is to stay current on your child support payments. Child support is important because every parent has a financial obligation to take care of their children. It takes a lot of money to raise a child. Children need clothes, food, medical attention, school supplies, dental care, and so many more things that can be a financial burden for just one parent to carry on their own.

What if There is a Dispute?

If you believe there is an error with your tax refund being applied to a past-due child support debt, you will need to contact the appropriate child support agency. The IRS does not handle this type of situation. The IRS only has the information that is given to them by the Department of Treasury, therefore that is all they have to go off of. If your tax refund was offset and you have already paid your past-due debts, contact your state child support agency to receive more information. They will be better able to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Five Ways to Settle Your IRS Tax Debts

Five Ways to Settle Your IRS Tax Debts

If you owe more money than you are able to pay to the IRS, you will need to figure out how to settle or pay off the tax debt. This is a debt that cannot be ignored. You have a few different options when it comes to tax debt settlement, so you should choose the option that makes the most sense for you.

Always check with the IRS to see what your options are. The IRS would rather help you come up with a solution to pay your tax debt rather than not get paid at all. Not paying your tax debt will only get you in more trouble with the government.

Installment Agreement

One way to settle up with the IRS is through an installment agreement or a payment plan. If you owe the IRS more money than you can pay in one payment, it may be easiest for you to make monthly payments. There are fees associated with this option, but it may be your only option if you need lower payment amounts.

Offer in Compromise

An Offer in Compromise is an agreement between a taxpayer and the IRS that settles a taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Taxpayers that are able to pay the full amount owed to the IRS typically don’t qualify for an Offer in Compromise. To qualify for an Offer in Compromise, you must be able to pay off the IRS making one lump sum or through a short-term payment plan. Since you are settling on an amount with the IRS, the payment must be made this way. If you qualify for the Offer in Compromise program, you may be able to save a lot of money in fees, penalties, and interest.

Not Currently Collectible

This is a program where the IRS agrees not to collect tax debt from a taxpayer for a year or so. Not collectible means a taxpayer has no ability to pay his or her tax debt. If the IRS places your account in Currently Not Collectible status, they will not levy your assets or income. However, they can still assess penalties and interest on your account.

File Bankruptcy

Income tax debts may be eligible for discharge under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 allows a full discharge of allowable debts and Chapter 13 provides a payment plan to repay some debts while discharging the others. You should only file bankruptcy if you meet all of the requirements for discharging your taxes. Otherwise you may find yourself in an even tougher situation.

Innocent Spouse Relief

If you find yourself in a situation where you have inherited your spouse’s tax debts, there is still a way to get out of it. If you can prove that your circumstances fit within the IRS guidelines for innocent spouse tax relief, you may be relieved of any tax debts that were caused by your spouse or ex-spouse. Check with the IRS to see if you qualify.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Tax Offset from Student Loans

Tax Offset from Student Loans

Going to college is very expensive. You have to pay for your classes, your books, your living expenses, and any other fees that may come up. Unless you or your parents have been saving money for you to attend college, you may need assistance to help pay for your post-secondary education.  This is where student loans come in. The federal government offers financial aid in the form of student loans to help people pay for their college education. When you take out a student loan, it will eventually have to be paid back. Typically, payments on student loans are not required until you have graduated or been unenrolled in classes for more than six months. There are several different types of student loans, but they all have one thing in common: they must be paid back!

Past-Due Student Loan Debt

Your student loans will never completely go away until they have been paid in full. If you are in default on your student loan payments, the Department of Education will refer your account to the Department of Treasury to assist in collecting the past-due funds. The Department of Treasury is able to intercept your tax refund to apply it to your defaulted student loans. When you apply for and receive federal student loans, the government will make sure they get their money back.

Notice of Offset

If your tax refund is intercepted due to past-due student loan debt, you will receive a letter in the mail letting you know. This letter is known as a Notice of Offset. It will tell you how much of your tax refund is being applied to your defaulted student loan debt. The Department of Treasury will send your funds to the Department of Education to be applied to your outstanding debt.

How to Prevent This from Happening

The only way to prevent this from happening is to stay current on your student loan payments. If you are struggling to make your payments, contact your lender before your loans go into default. Most of the time they can work with you to come up with a solution or other payment arrangements. Ignoring the loans is not the way to handle it. It’s also important to finish college once you have started and get your degree. With a degree, you will be able to earn a higher income to help you pay back the money you owe. If you stop going to school and never get your degree, you won’t be in a very good financial situation to pay back your student loans.

What if There is a Dispute?

If you have a dispute about your tax refund being applied to past-due student loan debt, you will need to contact your student loan lender or the Department of Education. The IRS only has the information that is given to them by the Department of Education. If you have already taken care of your past-due student loan debt and your tax refund has been offset, the Department of Education or your student loan lender will be able to further assist you.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

What’s A 529 Plan and How Can It Save Me Tax Dollars?

What’s A 529 Plan and How Can It Save Me Tax Dollars?

A 529 plan is a college savings plan. 529 plans were created to encourage saving money for future higher education expenses of a designated beneficiary. When 529 plans were first created, it only included post-secondary education costs. In 2017, it expanded to include costs for K-12 public, private, and religious school tuition and other expenses.

Types of 529 Plans

There are two types of 529 plans. One is prepaid plans, and the other is savings plans. Prepaid plans allow you to purchase tuition credits at today’s rates. These tuition credits are good for future use.

Savings plans growth is based on market performance of the underlying investments. The 529 savings plan has several investment options to choose from. A 529 savings plan may fluctuate in value depending on the investment option that is chosen. When looking at your options, you need to compare the two types of plans to see which one will be most beneficial for you.

529 Plan Rules and Restrictions

Most likely there will be rules and restrictions on any 529 plan you may choose. Before investing into a 529 plan, make sure you do your research and make sure that you understand exactly what you are getting into. This is an investment you need to feel comfortable with. Education savings plans have specific predetermined investment options. You are not able to switch freely among the different options once you have chosen an option. This is why it’s important to choose wisely before committing to a specific plan. Under the current tax law, an account holder is only permitted to change his or her investment option twice a year or when there is a chance in the beneficiary. There are very few exceptions, but the only withdrawals you are permitted to make from an education savings plan without penalties and taxes are for qualified higher education expenses or tuition for elementary or secondary schools. Purchased tuition credits may only be used at participating colleges and universities. If the beneficiary doesn’t end up attending a college or university, the prepaid tuition plan may pay out less than the amount in the account. It may only pay a small return on the original investment. If you are investing in a 529 plan, it only makes sense for the beneficiary to go to college!

Tax Benefits

Contributions into a 529 plan are not tax deductible, however, the money that is in a 529 plan grows federal tax-free and will not be taxed when the money is taken out to pay for college. Certain states offer tax breaks as well when you contribute to a 529 plan. In these states you can claim state tax benefits each year you contribute to your 529 plan. Because of this, it’s a very smart idea to keep making deposits until your final tuition bill is paid.

Everyone is Eligible

529 plans have no income limits, age limits, or annual contribution limits. Everyone is eligible to participate. As the owner of the account, you have control of the funds throughout the lifetime of the account.

Get your tax refund on your own time. Visit our AnyTime Tax Refund and Tax Refund Advance to see how RefundNote® can help you.

Understanding the IRS Where's My Refund Site: Part 1

Understanding the IRS Where's My Refund Site: Part 1

The 2018 tax season has been stressful for many US taxpayers. There are many taxpayers anxiously awaiting a check in mail, a direct deposit from the IRS, or even a DDD date on the IRS Where’s My Refund Site.

Where’s my refund?

This year the Where’s My Refund Site has received record high visits. The site has received over 386,894,562 this year. This has increased by over 23.5% from 2017. What is happening? Many taxpayers are experienced

The IRS updates the return in their database within 24 hours of filing. Mailed tax returns take an additional 4-6 weeks. The IRS site is seeing an exceptional amount of volume this year from anxious taxpayers who have been likely waiting months on their returns.

The Updates to Where Is My Refund

The site is updated daily so there is no need to continue checking the site multiple times a day. The IRS2Go mobile app, available on the App StoreGoogle Play and Amazon, is another tool for taxpayers looking to check their refund status.

We will be back with more information on how to read the site if your refund has yet to be sent.

You can always apply for help with finances while the IRS is reviewing your tax return here as well.

Five Things You Should Know on Tax Day 2018

Five Things You Should Know on Tax Day 2018

The day has arrived. Tax Day 2018 is April 17th. With new legislative changes there are things you need to know to assure yourself accurate filing, tax housekeeping, tax withholding and expense tracking if you apart of a wide range of individuals who are self-employed.

Taxes have seemingly gotten more and more complex and with each year tax day seems to arrive quicker and quicker each year. This year through April 6th, the IRS has received 101 Million tax returns and issued over $225 Billion.

Here are five things you should know regarding you know moving past Tax Day 2018.

File if you have yet to file.

If you have yet to file your 2018 tax return. You still have time, and a few options. The IRS accepts all returns filed by April 17, 2018 at 11:59pm.  The quickest, safest and most accurate way to file your income tax return is through an an authorized electronic filing service. There are numerous providers and this is the busiest week of the year for most providers. If you have yet to file your return you will not be alone as the IRS expects to receive nearly 15 million individual income tax returns for the week ending April 13. The following week will see another another 17 million tax returns the following week. Make sure you are in each of these batches if you have yet to file a 2017 tax return.

File an extension if you need more time.

Things happen and with a decisively more complicated tax code and more and more individuals earning income in various ways you can always receive a six month extension by filing tax form. You can easily file your extension for free using the IRS Free File software program online.

Here is the list of various options to file your extension for free:

The providers are not listed in any particular order

  • FreeTaxUSA® Totally Free
  • FreeTaxACT® Free File
  • TurboTax ® All Free (SM)
  • TaxSlayer
  • 1040NOW.NET
  • Free File Edition
  • Online Taxes at

Keep in mind that by filing an extension you do not eliminate penalties and interest that may be accumulated by not filing by the deadline. If you owe taxes you will still be charged the full amount plus additional amounts in interest and fees from the due date of April 17th. Special rules may apply if you’re in the military or live outside the U.S.

Make Sure the IRS has your correct address.

Each year the IRS sends out thousands if not millions of letters in only one format: The US Mail system.  The IRS will not contact you in any other way than by the age old means of stale mail. Due to this fact, it is essential that you keep an accurate address with the agency.  If you have not filed your return make sure you enter the current address where you would like to receive mail on the return prior to filing. If you have changed addresses since filing your 2017 tax return, things are a bit more complicated.

If you made changes to your address since filing your return you will need to file Form 8822, the Change of Address form for individuals.  This is important as the IRS may send you correspondence throughout the year updating you on any relevant information regarding your income taxes. Having an accurate address with the agency saves you lot of hassle and most importantly it saves you from surprises such as letters about amounts owed to the agency.

Once you have complete the form you should mail it along with a written letter that includes your name (your full, legal name), your old and current addresses, and your Social Security number.

Get and Keep a Copy of your tax return.

The IRS allows you to get a transcript of up to eight years and allows you to receive your transcript through its online system or by mail.  You should make sure you keep at least one year of tax returns in a safe and secure place either digitally or a physical copy. If you use a third party tax provider, make sure they provide you with a copy of the file tax return as well. It is always great to match the IRS transcript with what was filed by your tax provider.

Set Your 2018 Withholdings in Preparation for New Tax Reform

With the most changes to the tax code in over 30 years individuals will be affected by their Form W-4 so making sure your employer has the correct federal income tax withholding for your pay. This year even if you have already done so you may want to on your own ask your employer if you can fill out a new form W-4 when your based on new updates under the new tax law.

Consult with your tax professional if you have questions about how much you should be withholding to manage your tax burden at the end of the year. Kelly Phillips, a notable tax expert and writer for Forbes puts it like this, “Before you assume that you’d always want the bigger check, consider this: The amount of withholding is credited towards your tax due each year. If you don’t have enough withholding, you’ll owe Uncle Sam at tax time.”

These are five things you should know on Tax Day. You won’t get your refund today but be sure to make sure you have your taxes organized as we are already ⅓ of the way through the 2018 tax year and keeping things in order.


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