If you are expecting a federal refund, you might reconsider the way you do your taxes. Getting a refund means you paid too much throughout the year. Doing that amounts to giving the government an interest-free loan. Your goal should be to break even at tax time because that means you had just the right amount withheld from your paycheck. It can be a major disappointment, however, when you don’t get the tax refund you were expecting. There are specific reasons this happens.
You might not get your federal refund if you have past-due child support or if you owe federal or state taxes from prior years. The Internal Revenue Service can use your refund to go toward those debts under the Treasury Offset Program. The IRS can take as much as it needs from your refund money to pay off the debts. You are entitled to any leftover money. You should also receive a letter from the IRS that lists your total refund, how much of it was used to pay off your debt and which agency was paid. Dispute this by calling the paid agency directly.
The IRS, in 2011, held $153 million in refunds it could not deliver because of not having correct mailing addresses on those people, according to CNN. The IRS will not try to locate you by phone or email. It’s up to you to make sure the IRS has your correct address. Call the IRS if you suspect this is the problem. To ensure this does not happen again, especially if you move a lot, have your refund directly deposited into your bank account.
If you defaulted on your federal student loan, you are not alone. These defaults are common; about 9 percent of people who took out student loans defaulted in 2010, according to Fox Business. Because a student loan is not tied to anything that can be taken away, like a house or a car, some people pretend it doesn’t exist. The IRS can take your refund to pay your student loan debt under the offset program. The IRS can continue this practice until your student loan debt is paid.
Errors on Form
Your calculations when you prepared your taxes might have been wrong, leading you to think you have a refund coming when you don’t. This often happens when people wait until the last minute to file their tax return or when they don’t double check to make sure there are no mistakes. Other mistakes folks make that prevent their refund from coming are filling out the form incorrectly. Make sure you fill out all needed information and have your correct Social Security number listed to help ensure you will receive your refund.
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.