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Tips on tax return filings and refund timing


typewriter with tax returnBy Patrick T.R. Charvat, CPA

While the IRS advises that most people will receive their tax refunds within 21 days if they file electronically, the agency warns there are circumstances this year that may cause delays

In addition to the usual reasons, such as errors or omissions on returns and banks not processing payments on weekends or holidays, the agency says dealing with new COVID-19 relief-related programs may also slow returns.

For example, the agency says processing returns with Earned Income Tax Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit may cause delays.  These are not applicable to all tax returns, which underscores how understanding your tax situation helps determine how long you can expect to wait to receive your refund.

Tracking your return

You can track the status of your refund by using the IRS’s “Where’s My Refund?” tool found at

No account setup is needed to use this tool – simply enter your social security number, filing status (single, married filing jointly, etc.), and the exact dollar amount of your expected federal refund. In addition to tracking your refund, the tool alerts you if you need to call the IRS to discuss issues with your return.

  • The IRS stresses there is no need to call the agency unless specifically requested – the “Where’s My Refund?” tool has access to the same information that you would get from an agent.

File electronically for a faster return

Absent special circumstances, both the IRS and Boyer & Ritter generally discourage taxpayers from filing paper tax returns – and this is especially true in the wake of issues caused by COVID-19.

Although IRS agents continued to work from home during the pandemic, an estimated 9.7 million paper returns are awaiting processing as of the end of January 2022. This is orders of magnitude above the usual 1 million or fewer paper returns carried to the following tax season.

Should you decide to file your federal tax return by paper, you may expect to wait several months before hearing any news about the status of your return.

Bottom line

The biggest thing taxpayers can do to avoid problems is double-check their math and ensure the information they provide matches their supporting documents, such as 1099s.

Boyer & Ritter clients can also save time using our secure, electronic tax return delivery system called SafeSend Returns. SafeSend Returns allows you to electronically sign your e-file authorization form(s), but it won't submit the return to the IRS. Once signed, Boyer & Ritter is automatically notified, and we will then complete the filing process for you, including submission to the IRS.

If you have questions about your current or prior-year tax returns, the Boyer & Ritter team is happy to help you file or advise you on your tax situation.

Patrick T.R. Charvat is a CPA and tax supervisor with Boyer & Ritter who has experience working with multistate and local business entities and individuals. Contact Patrick at 717-761-7210 or      


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