Why your tax refund could take longer than you expect - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Why your tax refund could take longer than you expect

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Tax season is upon us, and many tax prepares around the Valley have frustrated customers who are waiting longer than the average time frame to receive their refunds.

"They're not happy, obviously," said David Freeman, owner of Liberty Tax Services in Huntsville. "Everybody needs their money as soon as possible. So that's why I say, 'be patient.' It's not like we are keeping it from them, or any other professional. It's the IRS."

The IRS released a statement about the delays that said taxpayers could expect to wait anywhere from 10 to 21 days for their refunds.

An excerpt from the statement said, "As with the start of any tax season, there were system validations that occurred requiring some fine-tuning of our systems. As part of this, in January, the IRS announced that some taxpayer refunds could be issued approximately one week later than initial projections they may have received, but these refunds were still in line with historical refund delivery times. The IRS apologized for any inconvenience caused by the revised refund dates."

"The glitches in their system to refund the money has been causing a lot of problems for them this year. More than any that I can remember and so it has caused delays for a number of taxpayers," Freeman said.

Some taxpayers also experienced problems with the "Where's My Refund" tool on the IRS web site. Officials said that glitch has been repaired and the "Where's My Refund" tool is now working normally.

The deadline to file taxes this year is April 17, not the customary April 15. The two-day extension was granted because April 15 falls on a Sunday, and the following Monday is Emancipation Day, a holiday celebrated in Washington, D.C.

Taxpayers who are 60 years of age or older, who have a disability, or whose 2011 household income was less than $50,000 qualify for free tax preparation and e-filing at help sites staffed by IRS trained and certified volunteers. To find a free help site click here. You can also dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-906-9887 to find a help site near you. Some sites offer appointments and some are open on weekends and evenings.

Taxpayers whose property was damaged by the April 2011 storms may qualify for a casualty loss on their tax return. Those claims may only be made in counties that were declared federal disaster areas. Filers can claim the loss on their 2010 or their 2011 tax returns. The option to claim the casualty on the 2010 return expires April 17, 2012. IRS officials recommend contacting your tax or financial advisor to make that decision.

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