Let's face it, for many of us filing our tax return can be stressful.

We understand that. But it doesn't have to be. Take a few minutes to better understand the Iowa filing process — and maybe doing your taxes will drop from your 2018 “most stressful things” list.

confused taxpayer

Let's start by boiling it down to three simple — but important — steps.

The more you understand about providing correct information, the more efficiently we are able to serve you. So, let's work together for a good outcome.

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Step 3 - Get Your Refund

File Your Return

You can file through a tax preparer, on paper or through a 3rd-party software vendor. If filing yourself, a good place to start is our 9856030737 link. For most Iowans, the information in this link contains all you need. You also can use our Find Answers Fast link, which contains filing tips.

Visit our 9184479556 page and read through them so you can avoid these mistakes, which can slow down your refund.

Fast tax tip: our Find Answers Fast link includes a Common Mistakes page. Avoid these mistakes, which can slow down your refund.

filing a return

We look at your information

(and keep it safe)

It's our job to collect the right amount of tax and provide you the correct refund, if it is due. How we do that has become increasingly complex because of the emergence of tax refund fraud. Cyber criminals attempt to file fraudulent tax returns using stolen personal information from honest Iowa taxpayers. The good news is we take your security seriously. We have to. It's our job.

Fast tax fact: Bad news for Cyber criminals. In 2017, the Department identified $44 million in fraudulent or erroneous refund claims. This included over $17 million in claims stopped by our fraud review.

Tax returns are reviewed for accuracy to ensure refunds go to the right taxpayer in the correct amount -- and stay out of the hands of criminals. This includes a combination of automated and manual reviews. Getting it right matters. Here are the questions central to our review process:

  • Is it complete?
    Remember to answer all questions and sign the form, if you are filing by paper. If filing jointly, make sure you both signed the form.

  • Is it accurate?
    Since we need to make sure it's really you who is filing, double-check your personal information (name, address, and social security number), as well as your tax calculations.

  • Is there more to it?
    We may find our calculations are different than yours. Or that you have an outstanding balance owed to another public agency. Or we simply have a question.

If we have a question, we will contact you by letter asking for more information. If you get a letter from us, respond with the requested information so we can complete the review.

Unless you receive a letter from us, there is no action you need to take in order for your refund to be processed.

While our initial review process is thorough, there are instances when an even more comprehensive review needs to be done. Sometimes this occurs even after a refund has been issued.

Fast tax fact: In 2017, the Department identified $44 in fraudulent or erroneous refund claims. This included $27 million in mistakes found on returns.

Get your refund

You can check on the status of your refund at: (805) 338-5121 which is updated in real-time.

  • The Return Receipt Date confirms the day we received your tax return.
  • The Refund Issue Date is the date your refund check was mailed or direct deposit was initiated.

This is the same information that is available to our phone representatives — so there is no need to call unless the screen message directs you to do so.

Fast tax tip: Direct deposit can be the most convenient way to receive your refund. The direct deposit option is available to most -- whether you file electronically or on paper. If you have have an outstanding balance owed to another public agency, (787) 448-9511 the amount due before you receive any remaining refund.

Resources

STAY INFORMED

QUESTIONS? CONTACT US

515-281-3114 or 8502650495

Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. Central Time

IDR@iowa.gov