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The many ways a refund can go astray


Every year there seems to be a new tax refund horror story.

The big one in 2011 was mass delays in processing returns of folks paying back the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

There have been some occasional hold-ups on such returns this filing season, but it seems that the Internal Revenue Service’s streamlined payback process and changes to the 1040 (enter the payback amount directly on the return and no attachment necessary) have solved a lot of problems, for the IRS and taxpayers.

The 2012 filing/refund headache involves Uncle Sam’s effort to cut down on tax identity theft and fraud.

Paper or direct deposit confusion:

Seems Jane (not her real name; like the IRS, the ol’ blog is committed to your privacy) and her husband whom we’ll call Jeff filed a joint return.

Jane filled out their taxes, the first time they’ve filed jointly, and listed her name first because they agreed that their refund should go directly into a bank account on which she is the primary owner. Jeff is joint owner, but she and her Social Security info are listed first.

After weeks of waiting, a paper check showed up at their house. And it was addressed to Jeff alone.

So, asked Jane, what’s the deal?

There are several possibilities.

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