We are right in the middle of tax season and you have several options for filing your return. You can hire a professional to do it for you, buy software and follow the directions, or just print out some forms and fill them out manually the old fashioned way.
Any way you ultimately decide to do it, if required, we are all filing our tax returns this time of year.
But what happens after we drop the envelope at the post office? Is it possible to track it and if so, how? As dysfunctional as the IRS seems, believe it or not, there are ways.
Where Do the Returns Go?
First off, you really don’t even have to drop them off at the post office anymore. Whether you’re using a software, doing them manually, or hiring a professional to prepare them, you can just simply file them electronically.
In other words, the data will flow over the Internet securely directly to the IRS. You’ll receive a notification that your return has been delivered to the IRS within minutes or hours, and that is your proof of timely filing.
Now, if you do send a paper return via U.S. mail, make sure you send it via Certified Mail. That is the only way to ensure that the postal receipt you get will be treated as a valid proof of timely filing. You will need to keep the green colored receipt that they give you back, which has a number on it. You will also be able to track the package through USPS Track & Confirm and know exactly when it is delivered to the IRS.
How to Track Your Tax Return
You have now delivered your tax return, either electronically or physically, so what can you do to track your tax return?
There are basically (2) two ways:
- Call the IRS and ask. You’ll be waiting a while until a representative answers, and then you’ll have to actually talk to the IRS.
- Get the very same information over the Internet.
It is actually pretty easy and the IRS recently added a new option to also track your amended return.
In order to track a tax return where you owe the IRS and you have attached a payment with your return, you don’t really need to do much. Just watch your bank account, and you’ll see the check cashed.
But if you want to track your tax refund, you should start with Where is My Refund Check?. There, simply follow the directions. For tax returns filed electronically you can actually start checking the website as soon as 24 hours after filing. For paper returns filed via Certified Mail, it may take up to a month until they appear in the system. Even though it takes longer, don’t worry that something is wrong; you have your green card receipt proving that you timely filed your return. Also don’t waste your time calling the IRS, because the representative answering the phone will see exactly the same information you do.
The amended returns are always filed on paper and will not show at the “Where’s My Refund” page. Instead, for amended returns, go to: Where is my Amended Return?. Amended returns take a lot longer and might take up to (3) three months for it to show up there.
When on the site, make sure you’re on the right site. Check through your browser that the site is secured and it is indeed “irs.gov”. Most browsers will show a notice about it on the address bar.
Taxes, like bankruptcy laws, are extremely complicated. When you combine the two laws, it becomes substantially more complicated, so if you owe tax debt of any kind and are wondering how to deal with it, call one of our Bond & Botes affiliated offices. We offer free initial consultations so feel free to call one of our conveniently located offices to set up a private consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will analyze your situation and help you make the best decisions possible to help you eliminate your tax debt.
Grant McNutt is a Managing Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Florence and Haleyville, Alabama. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Alabama, and a Juris Doctorate from the Birmingham School of Law. He has been practicing Consumer Bankruptcy Law since 1999. Read his full bio here.