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U.S. Tax returns - how long is mail-in from Thailand taking?


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Anyone have experience of how long mailed in returns from Thailand are taking to register in the IRS system?

Mine was mailed two months back, and even allowing two weeks for mailing, it is past the six weeks that the IRS says it takes for refunds. But mine doesn't even show in their 'tax refund' database. I guess my only option now is to mail a second return, and register it this time?

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Well if you call the IRS like I did and ask this question, they will readily admit that they have no idea.  They are still processing mailed 2019 returns after all...

 

I called them to check on the status of my 2019 return a couple of months ago and it was still not processed.  It was received in Austin by the IRS in July (I used a courier with tracking). 

 

They do NOT want you to mail a second return though, so your only option is to wait.

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I don't know but I tried to mail something that could not be electronically filed and the Thai Post said at that time that all international mail was suspended.  I know that must have ended because I did receive my Stimulus Check from the IRS last week here in Thailand. 

I have stopped doing filings of any kind by mail.  There is no way of documenting that you have actually mailed in the return.  You do get a postal receipt but that does not identify exactly what you sent.  

Many services are available a good number for free.  Nice part is they are informative as you fill out the return.  You just answer the questions, they give you all the available deductions and put the amounts in the correct box, and calculate your return.  Once filed you get a communication that the return was accepted. 

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You checked at

 

Where's My Refund   https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp

 

or used the mobile app IRS2Go   https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs2goapp

 

 

and they don't show your return as being processed?

 

Can you eFile?

 

Calling is useless, only 2% of calls get through.

 

Processing time has been acknowledged as abysmal.

 

And they're making no commitments on when a return might be finished and a refund issued.

 

I efiled on March 5, still shows as in process.

 

Gazillions of stories in the press.

 

 

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Mailed my return by registered mail on April 16th to the Austin, TX IRS office. The Thai Post track and trace website showed it was accepted on May 1st.  

 

How long it will take for the IRS to process the return is another matter.

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I am not currently in Thailand, but when I was there and filed, I couldn't file electronically.  I have always had to mail it in because the taxes are slightly complicated, so a number of forms.  

Last year's taxes took forever to be processed and the return was so slow that I also got a small but welcomed interest check for the delay.  

 

This year, I had to pay in, so I don't really care, but the IRS is a extremely slow and I am sure that with both stimulus checks and regular taxes during the pandemic, they will be playing catch up for quite a while.  

 

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Posted (edited)

Thanks everyone for the replies.

 

Etaoin Shrdlu - is the "refund status" database showing that your return was received? And did you use normal registered mail?

 

I am not so much worried about the refund, I am afraid that my return may have been lost in the mail because there is no sign of it in the database. I did not use registered mail because I thought there would be no one to receive it.

If I still don't see it in the "refunds" database, say a month from now, then I will have no choice but to send a second return, registered this time. The IRS will just have to deal with it.

 

And for those who are so inclined - don't waste space telling me to file electronically. I have been doing it for almost 20 years, since its infancy, but there are reasons I cannot this year.

Edited by Wandr
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29 minutes ago, Wandr said:

I am not so much worried about the refund, I am afraid that my return may have been lost in the mail because there is no sign of it in the database.

 

 

What is the message you receive when you check on the web or app?

 

I guess there's a chance your return got lost in the mail somewhere. How did you send this? Standard air mail? When was it sent?

 

 

But it could just be stacked up in a warehouse awaiting review.

 

Throwing another copy at the IRS, sent via something like Thai Post Courier Post (partnership with DHL) for 990 baht may be an option.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, Wandr said:

 

Etaoin Shrdlu - is the "refund status" database showing that your return was received? And did you use normal registered mail?

 

 

I tried to find the status of my return using the IRS refund status website. No info is available and the website says to expect a six week delay in processing paper returns. I assume the six week period starts from the day the return is received at the IRS office, which would indicate that perhaps it will be processed by mid-June.

 

I used standard registered airmail with Thai Post when I sent the return.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An update for those who mailed their returns.

A bit more than two months after my estimate of when the IRS would have received my return,  there is finally sign of life. The "where's my refund " tool is finally saying the return is being processed.  There is no refund date as yet. 

This should mean that the return got to them,  which was my concern. 

So, after mailing,  wait about three months.  If there is still no sign of receipt then take whatever next step is planned. 

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From Thai Post tracking:

Mailed my return registered cover 08/3

Recd. in the US 22/4

 

That's one and half months. I did call the IRS after a month of not seeing anything and they said they had got my IRS Direct Pay of the amount I owed so don't sweat. And said do not resend a copy.

 

Btw, IRS helpline is not a long wait if you call minutes after they open (EST 6am or is it 7).

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On 5/30/2021 at 8:37 AM, Wandr said:

An update for those who mailed their returns.

A bit more than two months after my estimate of when the IRS would have received my return,  there is finally sign of life. The "where's my refund " tool is finally saying the return is being processed.  There is no refund date as yet. 

This should mean that the return got to them,  which was my concern. 

So, after mailing,  wait about three months.  If there is still no sign of receipt then take whatever next step is planned. 

Thanks for this update.  Did you claim a missing stimulus payment on your 2020 return as a refund?  I read on another expat board that this is delaying processing somewhat as the IRS has to verify that you never received the payment.  Just wondering, as I mailed in my 2020 return to Austin this morning and claimed the $600 stimulus payment that I never got.

 

3 months seems fine I guess, considering it took the IRS 10 months to process my mailed 2019 return...

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3 hours ago, andy said:

Thanks for this update.  Did you claim a missing stimulus payment on your 2020 return as a refund?  I read on another expat board that this is delaying processing somewhat as the IRS has to verify that you never received the payment.  Just wondering, as I mailed in my 2020 return to Austin this morning and claimed the $600 stimulus payment that I never got.

 

3 months seems fine I guess, considering it took the IRS 10 months to process my mailed 2019 return...

No, I just claimed the money I had overpaid. 

As far as I can tell,  I received all stimulus payments expeditiously. They were deposited directly into my account. 

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I filed 2020 returns by mail, because requested ITIN# for wife. Fedex delivered my documents on 1 March. ITIN number processing takes now 11-12 weeks. Then paper return processing another 2 months. Since I'm missing 1 st stimulus payment for my son and claimed child credit that takes additional time to verify. I gave them US bank account for tax refund direct deposit. Their mail usually takes a month to come back.  Calling IRS is useless. First have to hold 30-40 minutes to speak  to someone, then they only apologize 3 times that IRS is understaffed and need to wait and can not check any specific. I expect to hear from them in August or September.  

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On 6/7/2021 at 4:41 PM, pon2007 said:

Calling IRS is useless.

 

I called at 18:00 Bangkok time, so 07:00 EDT. 

 

2 - 4 minute wait stated, ended up being 15 minutes. CSR took 90 minutes, but problem resolved.

 

You should monitor the status of your return at Where's My Refund.

 

https://www.irs.gov/refunds

 

https://sa.www4.irs.gov/irfof/lang/en/irfofgetstatus.jsp

 

 

 

 

I eFiled on Mar 5, claimed Stim #1 ($1,200m check never delivered, I made several attempts to receive this payment) as Recovery Rebate Credit, alog with another ~ $2,500 in overpaid taxes.

 

Monitored Where's My Refund. Noticed a change in status on May 25:

 

5/25/21, WMR displays exclamation mark, with details "Take Action"  "There is a delay in processing your tax return and your expected refund date may have changed." Special phone number, extension, case code provided.

 

5/26/21 - called IRS 18:00 (BKK) for 07:00 ET, got through the prompts in a minute, told queue was 2 -4 min, ended up being cloaser to 15 min. Agent was professional, understanding, kept me informed. She spent the next ~ 90 minutes (I used Google Voice, moble phone, WiFi, bluetooth headphones) working my issue. The main problem was the Rebate Recovery Credit, and verifying that I did NOT receive it. She mentioned, working through her screens, that agents were given new codes to deal with this as of this week, and this was the first time she had done it.


She said that a direct deposit in the full amount should show up within 3 weeks. 

 

 

6/12/21 Where's My Refund now displays a resolution, and expected deposit date of 6/16/21. The refund amount is exactly what I claimed.
 


 

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46 minutes ago, mtls2005 said:

 

 

6/12/21 Where's My Refund now displays a resolution, and expected deposit date of 6/16/21. The refund amount is exactly what I claimed.
 


 

Thanks for the update, this is in line with what I read about returns claiming missing stimulus being delayed due to the IRS needing to verify that the stimulus was not received.  Though 3 months total is not bad.  I paper filed and claimed my missing $600 stimulus, received by the IRS June 4 so I guess if I get it before December it will be a win.  My paper filed 2019 return took them 10 months to process...

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And ... a final update.

The refund was issued to my bank (in U.S.) a few days back. This was overpaid tax, not stimulus. Three months between mailing and receipt.

I guess the moral of the story is to have faith - in the IRS as well as the postal systems of the two countries.

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