By Amanda L. Richter, CPA
After you have filed your tax return you may be anxiously awaiting your refund and wondering what the status is. Fortunately, with just a few clicks, you can track the status of your federal and state tax refunds online.
The Internal Revenue Service “IRS” has an online tool called, “Where’s My Refund,” that will allow you to track the status of your return from receipt to completion. You can begin checking the status of your return as soon as 24 hours after you electronically file your Federal return (or four weeks after paper filing your return). Simply log onto https://www.irs.gov/refunds and make sure you have the following information handy, your social security number, your filing status (i.e. Single, Married Filing Joint, etc.) and the exact refund amount you anticipate receiving.
The IRS issues most refunds in three weeks (21 business days) if you electronically filed your return and up to six weeks if you paper filed. Your refund may be delayed if you opted to receive your refund as a check versus direct deposit. Other reasons your tax refund may be delayed can include:
- Errors or incomplete tax return.
- You claimed certain tax credits including Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Tax Credit.
- You are affected by identify theft or fraud.
- Or the tax return needs further review in general.
If more than 21 days has passed since you electronically filed your Federal return or six weeks after you mailed a paper return you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-4477 to speak with an agent.
The Virginia Department of Taxation also allows you to check your state refund online. You can check the status of your return 72 hours after electronically filing or four weeks after paper filing your return. To do so, go online to: https://tax.virginia.gov/wheres-my-refund.
Ask Kit Kat: Zebra Stripes
Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, can you tell us why zebras have those interesting stripes?
Kit Kat: Well, scientists don’t know exactly the complete story as of yet, but they have gained some preliminary insights. The consensus is that the stripes ward off flies which can carry serious diseases.
Studying zebras is not the easiest thing to do. In the wild, it is extremely difficult to get close to them. So, some scientists in Britain were very clever, and devised a way to create the look of a zebra on an ordinary horse. They designed a camouflaged-lightweight wrap which covered the entire horse, except for its head and legs. The flies still attacked the uncovered parts of the horse, but the area which was covered with the wavy stripes was not attacked. The stripes seemed to have the effect of disorienting the flies, as if their vision, which tends to have low acuity, could not process what they were seeing. Therefore, they veered away from the camouflage and did not bite those areas. Dr. Martin How of the University of Bristol in Britain and one of the researchers on the project compares the zebra stripes to a barber pole. When the barber pole rotates, it makes it seem as if the stripes are moving up or down. So, as the fly zooms in to its prey, the zebra’s stripes and the stripes in the camouflage wrap appear to be moving in unfamiliar directions. The fly is confused, and so zooms away.
The researchers are planning further tests to refine their observations. Do different patterns and thicknesses have the same effect? “By playing around with those variables, we’ll be able to get inside the head of the fly, or the eye of the fly, to work out what’s sort of confusing to it, says Dr. Tim Caro, another researcher from Britain on the project. (JoAnna Klein, “Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? Scientists Camouflaged Horses to Find Out,” Science section, The New York Times, 2-20-19)