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Lawmakers have referred to tax refunds as an additional form of stimulus that many people rely on each year.
The quickest way to get your refund is to file electronically and to use direct deposit, which allows the government to input funds directly into your bank account.
According to the IRS, about 80 percent of taxpayers use direct deposit.
But if you do file a paper return, expect to wait.
As previously reported by FOX Business, the IRS is behind processing paper returns – and some taxpayers are facing “extreme delays.”
The IRS stopped processing paper returns at the end of March as it began adjusting operations in order to keep employees safe and to comply with coronavirus-related social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines.
The IRS had 20 million pieces of unopened mail as of May 16 – about half of which were paper returns. The agency estimated it had a backlog of about 4.7 million paper returns at that time, and taxpayers have until July 15 to file.
Typically, you can expect your refund within three weeks if you file electronically – and even faster if you use direct deposit. According to the tax agency, 90 percent of direct deposit funds are distributed in less than 21 days.
Paper returns, during a normal year, can take up to eight weeks.
You can track your refund using the agency’s Where’s My Refund? tool.
Meanwhile, IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig said during recent congressional testimony that chipping away at the backlog of paper returns is a priority for the agency.
“The paper returns are a high priority for the Internal Revenue Service in terms of processing, and I think we’re running through that about 1 million a week – reducing the backlog about a million a week,” Rettig told lawmakers.
The silver lining for people whose refunds have been delayed is that it could result in an additional payment from the IRS. The tax agency said it would pay interest on individual 2019 refunds for returns filed by July 15 – the delayed tax deadline. Interest will “generally be paid from April 15, 2020 until the date of the refund,” the IRS said.
Interest payments might be received separately from the refund itself.