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Is there a deadline for the IRS regarding paying tax refunds?

Deadlines are a big part of tax law here in America. The laws and rules regarding federal taxes are full of them. One of the very well-known such deadlines is the federal tax filing deadline that taxpayers are subject to.

An important thing to note is that federal tax law not only puts deadlines on taxpayers, but also on the Internal Revenue Service. One of these deadlines regards paying out tax refunds.

The IRS cannot simply wait as long as it wants, without consequence, to give a taxpayer a refund they are due. Rather, the general deadline placed on the IRS for distributing a refund due to a taxpayer is 45 days after whichever is the later of the following two things: the filing deadline for the tax return the refund is related to and the date this return was filed.

What happens if the IRS misses this deadline? When the IRS doesn’t make a tax refund payment due to a taxpayer until after the applicable deadline passes, it is generally supposed to pay the taxpayer interest for each day it was late on issuing the refund.

Tax deadline issues, both issues related to deadlines for taxpayers and those related to deadlines for the Internal Revenue Service, can end up being quite impactful on taxpayers. Thus, it can be important for a taxpayer:

  • To be aware of what deadlines are present in relation to tax issues that come up for them.
  • If the IRS has missed a deadline (such as the tax refund deadline) in relation to a tax matter involving them, to understand what rights they have in relation to the IRS’s failure to meet the deadline.
  • If the IRS has accused them of missing a tax-related deadline, to have an accurate picture of what consequences the allegations could have and what options they have for dealing with the allegations and the resulting situation.

When a taxpayer has questions or concerns about a tax-deadline-related issue, they should consider talking their situation over with a skilled tax lawyer.

Source: USA Today, “Tax refund late? The IRS may owe you interest,” Tina Orem, May 22, 2016

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