Most refund delays are eliminated when taxpayers e-file

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A Goodyear couple says their tax return was nothing too complicated but they decided not to e-file and are still waiting for their refund. The IRS wants taxpayers to know that e-filing removes most delays in the refund process.

The IRS encourages all taxpayers to e-file. It's safe, and with direct deposit, you can get your refund in 21 days or less. Conversely, when you file by regular mail you run the risk of documents getting lost and long delays in getting your money.

Rita Boese says she and her spouse have a basic tax return -- mostly Social Security and pension income. She says for more than a decade now her accountant completes their return and then Boese mails a paper copy to the IRS.

"It's always been that way; we always do the paperwork. E-filing has never come up," Boese said.

After mailing in their 2016 return, Boese says the IRS requested documentation she had already provided. So, she mailed it in again and was to have her $4,600 refund in six to eight weeks; that was 12 weeks ago. Boese says the IRS is no help on the phone.

"You have to press '1' for this and '2' for that; it's all automated. You never get to speak to a person and if you do you have to wait almost an hour," Boese said.

She checks the "Where's my refund?" section of every day and all it says is her return is "still being processed." Boese says she needs the money badly and is completely in the dark as to where it is.

"Did somebody else get my refund? Is it just out there somewhere? What's going on? I have nothing to go by," Boese said.

E-filers typically don't experience these type of delays. Boese needs no more proof that it's time to switch.

"If e-filing is a better option, and if you're more guaranteed of getting your refund back, that would be the best way to do it," Boese said.

E-filing is the best way to get your refund quickly, so if you can e-file, it's definitely your best bet.

If you can't get help about your refund from the main IRS phone number (1-800-829-1040), you should try the Taxpayer Advocate Service (877-777-4778). It's a separate IRS company that helps taxpayers work through problems they are having with the IRS -- like getting their refund.

I put Boese in touch with the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service and they've opened a case for her. She hopes to have her refund soon.

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Dave CherryCBS 5 Advocate Dave Cherry works to resolve your consumer problems and protect your money. If he can't help, he'll do his best to point you in the right direction.

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Dave Cherry
CBS 5 Advocate

Dave was born and raised in Philadelphia and considers himself one of the biggest Philly sports fans. At 6-feet, 5-inches, he's probably right! Dave started on a different career path before fulfilling his lifelong dream of reporting the news and helping consumers. Dave graduated from Philadelphia University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting; he later earned an MBA degree in Finance from Temple University in Philadelphia. Dave also spent ten years as Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing for two of America's leading real estate franchise companies. Dave started his 21-year news career at WHP in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as news anchor and reporter, then moved to KOLD in Tucson, as the morning news anchor. From Tucson, he went to KRON in San Francisco as a freelance news reporter before moving east to COMCAST in Philadelphia as a general assignment reporter. In the fall of 2003, Dave moved west and joined KPNX in Phoenix and spent nine years as the station Call for Action Consumer Reporter. Through his on-air advocacy work in 2011, Dave and his team were able to help consumers save more than $1 million. Dave joined CBS 5 News as our CBS 5 Advocate in December 2012. Dave is a vegan and likes to eat the amazing vegan food prepared by his lovely wife, Carmen. Dave's also a big Bruce Springsteen fan (he's seen more than 70 shows!), the man who inspired him to learn the guitar. Besides playing many of the boss' songs, Dave writes and sings his own songs and recorded a CD of original music.

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