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Tax Refund Issues

3 min read


3 min read


Editor’s Note: We know how important it is to get a tax refund. While waiting for your refund to arrive can be frustrating, getting a refund that’s less than expected – or none at all – can be upsetting. Here are a few reasons why tax refund issues occur, and what to do if it does happen to you.

Each year, about 80% of the almost 150 million total tax filers get a refund. Millions of these taxpayers are surprised when their refund is less than expected, delayed or never comes at all. Here are some of the most common reasons why the IRS changes, holds, or takes taxpayers’ refunds:

  1. The IRS put your refund toward a balance you owe. Currently, more than 17 million taxpayers owe the IRS. Confiscating refunds is the best way for the IRS to collect this money. The IRS will take your refunds going forward until the amount is paid. In general, the IRS can take refunds for 10 years after you originally owed the tax.
  2. The IRS put your refund toward a spouse’s tax bill. If you file jointly with a spouse who owes taxes (or other debt the IRS is required to collect, such as child support or student loan debt), the IRS will use your joint refund to pay the amount owed. If you don’t want your portion of the refund to pay your spouse’s debt, file an injured spouse relief form