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When should Arkansas paper filers expect a tax return?

Tax returns are slowly making their way into bank accounts for those who have filed electronically, but for paper filers, many are still waiting to see theirs.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If you filed paper taxes this year, it's safe to say that you could still be waiting on your return. 

Not everyone chooses to file electronically and that's where some issues are coming from.

Lynn Graves is 74 years old and relies a lot on her tax refund.

"It can help me with groceries, it can help me with medications because I am not well," said Graves.

Instead of finding someone to prepare her taxes, she usually files and mails in her own paper return.

From that point, she usually receives a refund in the mail roughly three to four weeks later. 

Unfortunately this year is a little different for Graves.

"I waited for 12 weeks, which is three months and that's just that's wrong," Graves described.

After reaching out to the IRS several times to check the status of her refund, the answer seems to be the same every single time she calls. 

"You never get to talk to a person [and] you never really get an answer on anything," Graves said.

When could we see tax returns-- it's a question that many are asking. 

To find out that answer, we went to Jaye Gasaway, a partner with Gasaway and Company CPAs, to figure out what the hold up is.

"In order to process a paper tax return, the IRS has to have data processors to get that entered into their system," Gasaway said.

Due to the pandemic, many IRS employees are working from home which is now causing a backlog according to Gasaway.

"It just creates the perfect scenario in which a paper filed return could take, you know, months and months before it gets processed," Gasaway said.

If you are one of the millions that's waiting for a paper return in the mail, here's a statement from the IRS's website addressing the wait: 

"It’s taking us longer than normal to process mailed correspondence and more than 21 days to issue refunds for certain mailed and e-filed 2020 tax returns that require review."

While there's not much that can be done, Gasaway still has some tips.

You can try reaching out to the Taxpayers Advocate Hotline at 877-777-4778 or reach out to a state representative.

Additionally, he said if you know for sure that your return has not been processed, it's not too late to take them to a preparer.

"If [you] took [your] tax documents to a preparer and file electronically, that will get processed most likely much faster," Gasaway said.

That's sound advice but for those like Graves, every day is more like a waiting game as she hopes for an answer soon.

"I really have given up. I just hope no one else got my money or that it's coming," Graves said.

Gasaway also said a common mistake behind a delay is if you move and don't update your address, so he encourages you to make sure your information is correct.

His best advice is to file electronically.

Otherwise, you could be waiting for quite some time as the IRS hires more processors to sort through the millions of returns in a warehouse.

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