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SB Wednesday: delays in income tax refunds

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BLUEFIELD, W.Va (WVVA) - WVVA is helping to answer your questions about small business loans, unemployment, taxes, businesses reopening, and more. John O'Neal, Executive Director of the Mercer County Development Authority, is helping answer viewers' questions.

We are taking a break from the business reopening schedule this week to discuss an important issue to many of our viewers. Several viewers have contacted WVVA indicating that there has been a delay in receiving their income tax refund money.

"There are several common factors that can delay income tax refunds. Paper returns take the IRS twice as long to process compared to electronic ones. Filing on paper also increases the chance of making a mistake, which requires extra time to correct any errors," said O'Neal.

"If you are among the 10% of taxpayers that are still filing a paper return, that may be your problem. Also, a paper check will take longer than direct deposit for your refund," said O'Neal.

"It will definitely take the IRS longer to process, and to deliver the refund check through the postal service. Finally, there are a couple of popular tax credits that often lead to greater scrutiny of a return," said O'Neal. "Those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit may experience delays, as these credits have been associated with high levels of fraud."

O'Neal said there are also issues related to COVID 19 that are impacting tax refunds.

"First of all, President Trump and Governor Justice issued executive orders extending the deadline for personal and business income tax filings from April 15 to July 15," said O'Neal.

"Secondly, the COVID 19 pandemic led to the shutdown of federal and state government offices, and many of these workers are just now returning to work," said O'Neal.

"Finally, the President and Congress approved funds to help Americans during the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The IRS was tasked with distributing these stimulus funds," said O'Neal.

"They are still issuing some stimulus checks. The stimulus checks were given priority over income tax refunds," said O'Neal.

Viewers may check the status of their income tax refund using the IRS2GO App. This app can be downloaded from Google Play, The Apple App Store, and Amazon.

Melinda Zosh

Evening Anchor and Producer

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