Things to do After You File Your Tax Return

You have filed your tax return, or your preparer has done so on your behalf, so what is next?

1. If you have a refund coming, you can check the status of your refund within 24 hours after the IRS accepts your return. The best way to do this is to use the tool “Where’s my Refund” located on the website. In order to use the tool, you will need your Social Security Number, filing status and the exact amount of refund shown on your tax return.

Your account status will be in one of three stages: Return Received, Refund Approved and Refund Sent. If your status is Refund Approved, you should see the date when your refund is scheduled to be sent to your bank or via a check. The IRS only updates the site once every 24 hours, so it’s not worth checking multiple times a day. If you filed a paper return, you’ll have to be more patient. Allow 4 weeks before checking on the status.

2. Make a file for your records. The IRS has up to three years to verify that all the information on your return was correct. If you get audited, they will want to see documents like receipts, bills, canceled checks, tickets, loan agreements, and employment documents. You’ll need all of these when you complete your return. Keeping them together in a clearly labeled file will make your life easier if the IRS requests to see them.

3. You now may do a spring cleaning and get rid of some of your old records. The IRS provides taxpayers with general rules on how long to retain tax information here. If you keep records for 7 years, you should be covered in all cases. Generally, you should save statements, receipts, and other documents relating to the return.

It is important that you retain copies of all your actual tax returns indefinitely. They may be needed some time in the future if tax law changes occur, such as the five-year net operating loss carryback signed into law under the CARES Act, or other issues that may arise.

4. If you find that you missed filing some information with your return, do not fret. You may file an amended tax return Form 1040-X, Amended Individual U.S. Income Tax Return. Generally, a claim for refund or credit must be filed within three years after the date you filed the original return or within two years of the date you paid the tax, whichever is later. There are however special rules for claims relating to net operating losses, foreign tax credits, bad debts, federally declared disaster areas, combat zones, and other issues. Consult your Stanfield + O’Dell tax adviser with specific questions concerning these additional areas.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact a tax professional at Stanfield + O’Dell.