20 Sep 23

How do I track my ERC from the IRS?

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Last Updated on: 20th September 2023, 02:44 am

How Do I Track My ERC Refund from the IRS?

Waiting for your ERC refund can feel like an eternity. You filed those amended payroll tax returns months ago and still haven’t seen a dime. When will the money arrive? How can you check on the status? We’ll walk through some options for tracking that refund so you can get a sense of the timing.The ERC or Employee Retention Credit was introduced in 2020 to help employers retain staff during COVID-19. It’s a refundable tax credit claimed on amended payroll tax returns, Form 941-X, for 2020 and 2021.So once you file those amended returns, the next logical question is “Where’s my refund?” Let’s look at some options for tracking it down.

Call the IRS Business Helpline

One of the best ways to check on your ERC refund status is to call the IRS directly. The IRS has a dedicated business helpline you can call at 800-829-4933.When you call, make sure to have some key details handy so they can look up your account:

  • Your company’s federal identification number
  • The quarters you amended returns for
  • Approximate date you mailed the 941-X forms
  • Amount expected for the refund

The agents can then access your account information and let you know the status of your refund. This could include:

  • Return received but not yet processed
  • Return processed but refund not yet issued
  • Refund already issued on X date

Calling the helpline gives you a chance to get specifics on your refund status. However, be prepared for potentially long hold times as the IRS is still facing backlogs. Also, not all agents will be able to provide refund status, so you may need to call back more than once.

Check Online Refund Status Tools

The IRS does provide some online tools to check refund status. However, these have limitations when it comes to amended returns.

Where’s My Amended Return?

The Where’s My Amended Return? tool lets you check the status of a Form 1040-X. This is for amended individual income tax returns. It does not track amended payroll tax returns like the 941-X.

Where’s My Refund?

The main Where’s My Refund? tool tracks original tax returns, not amended filings. You enter your Social Security Number, filing status, and refund amount. It shows the status of returns like the Form 1040. Again, no luck for payroll tax amendments.While these online tools won’t track ERC refunds directly, some taxpayers report being able to get status updates through them. It’s worth trying in case your amended return is tied to your individual account. But don’t expect too much.

Check Weekly for IRS Notices

Even if the online tools come up empty, keep watch for any notices sent by mail from the IRS. As they process your amended returns, they may send updates on the refund status.Notices can include a letter confirming receipt of your 941-X or informing you of any issues that need resolution. Stay on top of any IRS mail to your business address so you get refund updates right away.

Understand the ERC Refund Timeline

While you’re tracking down the status, it helps to know the typical processing timeline for ERC refunds. This gives context on when you can reasonably expect payment.The IRS is facing massive backlogs due to COVID-19, staff shortages, and an overload of amended returns. In October 2022 they had a backlog of over 8 million unprocessed individual returns. Amended business returns are also delayed significantly.Given the backlog, the IRS says it can take at least 120 days to process an amended return. That’s if there are no errors and it goes smoothly. Many refunds are taking 6 months or longer.What does this mean for ERC filers? Here are some timeline expectations:

  • 3-4 weeks for the return to be delivered and receipt logged by the IRS. Send via certified mail and save tracking records.
  • 2-3 months for initial return processing if no errors. Could take 6 months or more given backlogs.
  • 1 month for refund review and issuance after processing.
  • 5-8+ months total for refund, assuming no major issues.

It stinks to wait so long, but it’s the reality right now. The most you can do is track status periodically and watch for IRS notices. If it hits 8 months with no refund, consider contacting the Taxpayer Advocate Service for assistance.

Don’t Expect Instant Answers

With the backlogged IRS working through millions of returns, don’t expect to immediately get definitive answers on your ERC refund status.Calling the helpline could result in long holds then unclear status from the agent. Checking online tools likely won’t show amended return info. Many taxpayers report getting the runaround trying to track their refunds down.As frustrating as it is, you may need to just keep checking back persistently over time. Call periodically, check online tools weekly, and watch for any IRS notices. Eventually you should get a sense of movement on the refund.Just know that quick status updates likely won’t happen given the circumstances. You’ll need patience as you wait it out.

Review Refund Delays and Solutions

Even once the IRS processes your amended returns, there could be delays issuing the actual refund check. Some common hangups include:Unresolved Discrepancies – The IRS may flag an error in your 941-X calculations. You’ll need to provide additional information to resolve it before the refund releases. Respond quickly to any notices.Offset to Tax Debts – If you have unpaid tax balances or debts, the IRS can offset ERC refunds to those amounts first. The offset could delay payment.Direct Deposit Rejection – If the refund tries to direct deposit to an invalid account, the funds bounce back. This delays things as they mail a paper check.Lost Check – There’s a small chance the mailed refund check is lost or stolen. You’d need to request a replacement.Suspected Fraud – A large refund claim could get flagged for review as potential fraud. Be ready to provide validating documentation.If you run into refund delays or issues, contact the IRS for help resolving them. The faster you can rectify problems, the sooner you’ll get that money.

Claim Missing Refunds

  • File Form 3911, Taxpayer Statement Regarding Refund to formally request a missing refund from the IRS. Be sure to include copies of your tax return and proof of payment.
  • Call the IRS refund hotline at 800-829-1954 to inquire about a missing refund. Have your Social Security number, filing status, and exact refund amount ready.
  • If it has been over 6 weeks since you e-filed and have not received your refund, contact the IRS. There could be an error or delay in processing.
  • Review your tax return to make sure your banking information for direct deposit is correct. An error can cause a refund rejection and delay.
  • Watch out for IRS letters explaining any refund delays and quickly respond with any requested information.

File Appeals

  • To appeal an IRS decision, submit a formal protest letter within 30 days of the notice explaining why you disagree. Include supporting documentation.
  • For appealing a state tax agency decision, file a petition for redetermination or claim for refund within time limits set by that state.
  • To appeal denied unemployment benefits, request an Administrative Law Judge hearing within 30 days and explain why benefits were wrongfully denied. Submit evidence supporting your claim.
  • For Social Security or SSI claims, file appeals online or use Form SSA-561 within 60 days of a denial. Explain why you disagree with the decision and provide additional medical evidence as needed.
  • Keep appeals professional and focused on facts. Work calmly with agency representatives to resolve issues. Seek help from a tax pro or attorney if needed.
  • Be persistent and follow protocols closely when disputing unfavorable decisions. Document everything and don’t give up if you believe benefits were unjustly denied.