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Tax Day is coming. Just don’t expect the refund anytime soon

Due to the pandemic, Tax Day was pushed back to Monday, May 17.

Tax Day was pushed back to Monday, May 17.
An illustration of a tax form.
Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

The deadline for filing your 2020 taxes is almost here, but if you’re hoping for a quick turnaround on an expected refund, it may be best to not hold your breath.

When is Tax Day for 2021?

In March, the Internal Revenue Service — the U.S. Department of Treasury’s tax collectors — pushed this year’s Tax Day for individual taxpayers back from April 15 to Monday, May 17.

  • “This continues to be a tough time for many people, and the IRS wants to continue to do everything possible to help taxpayers navigate the unusual circumstances related to the pandemic, while also working on important tax administration responsibilities,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in March’s announcement.
  • “Even with the new deadline, we urge taxpayers to consider filing as soon as possible, especially those who are owed refunds. Filing electronically with direct deposit is the quickest way to get refunds, and it can help some taxpayers more quickly receive any remaining stimulus payments they may be entitled to,” he added.

This is the second year in a row that the IRS has pushed back the annual tax deadline due to the pandemic.

Why haven’t you received your tax refund?

For those who’ve already filed their taxes and are waiting on a refund, the IRS has a web tool that lets filers check their refund status: “Where’s My Refund?”

But, don’t get your hopes up if you’re waiting for a quick return. On the “Where’s My Refund?” website, the IRS is warning that it’s taking more than the normal 21 days to process some returns. The Washington Post reported that the holdup of million of returns is due to a backlog of tax returns, understaffing at the IRS and literal printer problems.

  • “An interim report about the 2021 filing season from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration office found that more than 8.3 million individual tax returns and transactions remained to be processed at the end of 2020, representing more than a 1,200 percent increase from a normal filing season,” according to The Washington Post.
  • And, by the end of April, about 17.1 million individual returns were still unprocessed, The Washington Post reported.
  • The delays are attributed to pandemic-induced teleworking, IRS staffing shortages and more than 40% of the printers needed to process returns require service, reported the Post.

“This has been a challenging year,” Rettig told Congress in April, according to The Wall Street Journal. “We greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of others.”