Exactly how long does it take the IRS to respond to a fax?
With the Internal Revenue Service completely inundated by tax refund requests amid the coronavirus pandemic, getting any reply from them is likely to be painfully slow.
Worse, the closure of tax processing centres, support centres and other IRS offices only serves to worsen the delay.
In fact, the situation has become so dire that the IRS is now allowing their employees to accept and send documents via email.
Not sure how long does it take the IRS to respond to a fax? Want to get the fastest response from the IRS? Read on to find out more.
Why does the IRS still use fax?
The IRS’s reliance on 1960s tech has caused a lot of frustration amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
But the decision to stick to IRS fax phone numbers and getting taxpayers to send fax to the IRS actually has good intentions.
Truth is, the IRS is bound by specific rules that prevent it from making unauthorized disclosures of sensitive taxpayer information.
Before the current pandemic, the IRS chose not to accept emails as they perceived emails to be insecure means of transmission. If the IRS couldn’t guarantee that taxpayer information can be sent over safe and sound, they’d rather not use emails at all.
Taxpayer safety is the IRS’s paramount priority. In mid-2019, They actually announced a stop to the transcript faxing service and amended the form 4506 series to enhance protection of taxpayers from identity theft.
How long does it take the IRS to respond to a fax?
Under normal conditions, the IRS should respond to your fax within 2 weeks from the date of sending. If you provided incomplete or missing information, this may take longer.
For tax returns, you will receive your tax refund within 3 weeks of the data when IRS receives your return if you choose to do so via e-filing. You can expedite this by opting to have your tax return directly deposited into your checking or savings account.
If you mail a paper tax return instead, it may take 6 to 8 weeks to process instead.
Due to the ongoing pandemic however, the IRS is struggling to meet tax refund requests. It has stated clearly that processing paper tax returns is likely to take several weeks longer than usual.
How to get the fastest response from the IRS
The IRS is swamped with tax refund requests for now, but that doesn’t mean you should just mope around and hope for quicker returns. Here are some tips to help you get a faster response from the IRS:
Tip 1: E-file instead and regularly check for updates
As mentioned earlier, the IRS now accepts email submissions, and e-filed requests are processed a lot faster than traditional paper tax returns. E-filing your tax request with the IRS ensures that you’ll receive a quicker response than usual.
More importantly, you should note that IRS customer service phone lines are currently unstaffed or understaffed.
Given the deluge of tax requests coming in everyday, you should not wait on the IRS to provide a response. Regularly check in for any updates on the IRS website to see if there have been any developments to your tax request.
Tip 2: If you need to call, try a specialised phone number
The IRS has a general phone number for any taxpayer to easily call and get connected to a customer service employee.
But if you’re already clear on what you need help with, it’s a lot faster to simply dial one of the IRS’s many specialised phone numbers instead.
Here’s a full list of the IRS’s phone numbers, neatly compiled courtesy of NerdWallet.
Tip 3: Send your forms during opening hours
As a general practice, faxes received after business hours are only processed the next business day. If you want a quicker response, make sure to send your tax forms during opening hours.
Tip 4: Make sure you have all the necessary details before filing.
Realising that the IRS fax number is not working or that the IRS fax phone number is down wouldn’t be anywhere as frustrating as timing out halfway when you’re e-filing your tax.
To prevent this, make sure you have all the information you need before proceeding to e-file. Also make sure that you file your tax with the right methods.
If you’re filing tax as an individual, the IRS has multiple recommended options for you. Or if you’re filing for business or as a self-employed taxpayer, you’ll need a different tax filing option among this list.
Also take note that to sign and validate your electronic tax return, you’ll need your prior-year Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) or prior year Self-Select PIN.
Tip 5: Use a mobile fax app instead of waiting in line at the nearest print shop.
You already have to wait in line to have your tax form processed. Don’t wait even longer for the print shop to get your fax done.
Instead of heading over to the nearest print shop, you can simply scan your document and attach it to an email using a convenient mobile fax app like Zap Fax.
Zap Fax is free to download, and you can start using it to scan and fax documents right away. All you need to do is scan, preview, and send.
With Zap Fax, everything you need to get that fax over to IRS is already on your phone. Use your phone camera to get crystal clear faxes, and simply share via email on your mobile device for quick and easy sending to take advantage of the IRS’s new e-filing rules.
Show your support for the IRS
Getting stimulus checks into bank accounts has been a major headache for many Americans, and these are certainly trying times. But no matter how long it takes the IRS to respond to your fax, they need your cooperation to make sure everyone gets the timeliest response.
So now you know how long does it take the IRS to respond to a fax. E-file your tax, and do so as early as you can!