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Where is my tax refund or stimulus check?

Senior Reporter Mark Koebrich looked at when people who have not yet received refunds or their stimulus check can expect to receive them.

COLORADO, USA — People who filed paper tax returns will likely be delayed in receiving their refund due to a backlog at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) offices caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IRS typically issues refunds for paper returns about six weeks after it receives them. Many taxpayers have not seen those returns yet due to closures at IRS field offices, which have been shut down because of coronavirus. As a result, many of those returns are still sitting in a mail room somewhere and have yet to be processed.

Greg Papineau, a certified public accountant (CPA) with the BiggsKoford Accounting Firm with many clients wondering what happened to their returns, said the entire process has been on hold indefinitely because there weren’t enough agents back at work yet to input them.

“Some people were all concerned and worried about this," Papineau said. "If you get an IRS notice about this, that they’re going to look at your tax return closer, then I would start to worry about it. But until then, I’m sure it’s just [them] taking their sweet time in getting things processed through the system."

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The IRS has tried to be open about the difficulties, and they said they have been working very had to correct them. But in addition to late return of refunds, a lot of people expecting stimulus checks have said they have had problems tracking them on the IRS website. They said they get repeated "Payment status not available" messages.

Experts said the issue is that IRS computers haven't been able to keep up. The IRS said it has had to shut down their search tool and reboot it to catch up, but they are still having some issues. The best advice is to return to the IRS website and give it another try.

The new tax deadline this year is July 15, and people can still request an extension if they don't think they can complete their taxes by then.

Also, about 4 million Americans are now receiving their governments stimulus money in the form a “prepaid debit card.”

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The debit cards can be used to make purchases, get cash from in-network ATMs or to transfer funds to personal accounts. They are accepted at any store where Visa cards can be used. The cards are being mailed to people who haven't provided their banking information to the IRS, such as low-income households without bank accounts or taxpayers who typically don't receive refunds via direct deposit.

The IRS also said it's adding 3,500 workers to its call centers immediately to begin answering questions about refunds and stimulus payments