Health Team

Tax refunds delayed for almost 5 million people

Millions of taxpayers are receiving some bad news from the IRS this July.

Posted Updated

John Matarese
, Don't Waste Your Money consumer reporter

Millions of taxpayers are receiving some bad news from the IRS this July.

During a year when every dime counts, the agency says some tax refunds will be delayed another few months.

Cristy Mack is one of them. She and her husband never wait to file their taxes because she depends on her refund.

But, like almost five million other people, they still file paper returns because it's what makes them most comfortable.

"We mailed our paper forms at the end of February," Mack said.

But, five months later, Mack still doesn't have her refund.

"A total of 18 weeks have gone by since we mailed in our return," Mack said.

Mack tried calling the IRS, she says, but like countless other taxpayers, ran into a brick wall.

"They say they aren't taking calls at the moment," she said.

Why refunds are taking so long this year

The IRS's national taxpayer advocate now says as many as 4.7 million people who filed paper returns will have very late refunds.

That's because the agency furloughed thousands of workers this spring and stopped processing paper returns for two months, creating a huge backlog.

Paper processing has restarted, but workers are far behind.

Mack needs her tax refund badly.

"It means a lot to us," she said. "Especially with everything going on, and my husband's job has been really slow, and we are making less."

Don't Waste Your Money passed Mack's information on to the IRS, though it may not make a difference if her return is buried in a stack of thousands.

"When you rely on that as part of your income and it's not there, it does make things a little sketchy sometimes," she said.

And with the IRS extending the tax deadline to July 15 this year, even more paper returns are about to be added to the stack.

If you are still waiting for your refund, all you can do is log on the IRS website, go to the "Where's my Refund" section, and cross your fingers.

As always, don't waste your money.

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