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There are a variety of reasons the IRS may delay the processing of your return. Many of them relate to the incompleteness of your income tax return.
Name change. You have changed your name (for reasons such as divorce, marriage, etc.), but failed to notify the IRS. In addition to delaying your refund and processing of your tax return, it could affect your social security benefits. You need to inform your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office to have your name change done. You need to have your name be the same on your tax return as it is found in the social security records. One easy way to do this in the interim is, if you received a mailing address from the IRS in your income tax return package, simply peel this off and attach it to your 2006 income tax return. Then, cross out your old name and write in your changed name.
Incorrect or missing social security numbers. This number must be the one found on your social security card. In addition to delaying the processing of your return, you could be penalized by the IRS. If you are filing jointly, or claiming an dependents, you must include their social security numbers also. If you do not have this number, apply for one using Form SS-5 (Application for a Social Security Card). You do this at your local SSA office. Expect it to take about 2 weeks before you get a SSN number.
Lack of signature. You return needs to be signed by you. If filing jointly, it must be signed by your spouse. This is a simplistic statement. If your spouse is unable to sign, there are many situations where IRS rules must be followed. Refer to IRS Publication 17 – Your Income Taxes for more information. If you paid someone to prepare your tax return, they need to sign on the designated line.
Incorrect filing status. You checked the wrong box for your filing status.
Your form attachments are not in order. This causes the IRS to manually put them in order.
Incorrect exemption amount. You filled in the wrong exemption amount.
You claimed the incorrect standard deduction amount. For instance, you are single and over 65 but did not claim the full amount you are entitled to.
Incorrect direct deposit information. You want to receive your tax refund via direct deposit. However, you did not furnish your bank account number or routing number.
Your tax payment is not the amount on your tax return.
Mailing to the incorrect IRS address. This will cause a delay to begin with. However, if you mail your 2006 tax return later in the tax season (with thousands of other taxpayers), it will cause an even longer delay in processing.
Not attaching postage to your return. Of course, this will result in your income tax return being returned to you. You will then have to resubmit it.
By making certain all this information is correct, the IRS can process your return in a more efficient and timely manner.