I am helping a relative catch up on his income tax returns. The deadline to claim a tax refund for a 2014 tax return is April 15, 2018. Last month (January 2018), he filed his 2014 tax return, and he is owed a refund. He has not heard back from the IRS yet. I'm worried that the IRS may hold his 2014 refund due to his missing tax returns for other years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016). If the IRS does decide to hold his 2014 refund, does the taxpayer forfeit his chance to receive his 2014 refund if he doesn't complete other missing years by April 15, 2018?
If you file your tax return by mail, it typically takes 6 to 8 weeks for the IRS to process it. Your relative may still get the refund if they do not owe the IRS money. If they did owe the IRS, they would probably know by now. The IRS sends registered mail to let the taxpayer know if they owe or did not file a tax return that the IRS has reason to think they should have filed. This would most often be because someone filed a form with the IRS saying that they paid your relative (W-2 or 1099-MISC usually). If they keep the refund for any reason, they will send a letter saying why. Your relative can also call 1-800-829-1040 to find out what is going with the tax return. Have all the information ready, when you call and be prepared to hold.
This is from IRS TAX TIP 2001-48 REFUNDS -- HOW LONG SHOULD THEY TAKE?. Click on the link to read more.
"If you file a complete and accurate paper tax return, your refund should be issued in about six to eight weeks from the date IRS receives your return."
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