Where’s your missing IRS tax refund cash? Here’s why it’s late and how to track it

You can examine to see the place your tax refund is utilizing on-line IRS instruments.

Angela Lang/CNET

If you are struggling to discover your tax refund, you are not alone — hundreds of thousands of individuals have been ready months to obtain their tax refunds from the IRS. An IRS backlog of about 35 million unprocessed returns, as reported in June by the Taxpayer Advocate Service, is due to challenges introduced on by the pandemic. On prime of that, the IRS has been buried with stimulus funds, changes for returns and the calculation of different credit and tax breaks. We’ll let you know how to examine the standing of your refund with out ready on maintain with the IRS. 

Many households are banking on that missing cash to present monetary reduction for payments, debt and on a regular basis bills. The latest spherical of two.2 million stimulus checks and $15 billion going out with the expanded child tax credit might have created a buffer for some households, however a tax refund can be a fair greater assist. One piece of fine information is that the tax company simply issued one other spherical of refunds for overpayment of taxes on 2020 unemployment compensation.

So the place’s your cash? We’ve performed the legwork beneath so you do not have to. You can track your examine utilizing the net Where’s My Refund software and examine your unemployment refund standing by viewing your tax transcript. To study extra on financial assist, listed here are methods to see if you qualify for youngster tax credit score funds. If you are questioning about future stimulus payments or the most recent infrastructure deal, we are able to let you know about that, too. This story is up to date regularly. 

Why is my tax refund so late this 12 months?

Because of the pandemic, the IRS ran at restricted capability in 2020, which put a pressure on its capability to course of tax returns and created a backlog. The mixture of the shutdown, three rounds of stimulus funds, challenges with paper-filed returns and the duties associated to implementing new tax legal guidelines and credit created a “perfect storm,” in accordance to a National Taxpayer Advocate review of the 2021 submitting season to Congress. 

The IRS is open once more and at the moment processing mail, tax returns, funds, refunds and correspondence, however restricted assets proceed to trigger delays. The IRS stated it’s additionally taking extra time for 2020 tax returns that want review, comparable to figuring out recovery rebate credit quantities for the primary and second stimulus checks — or determining earned earnings tax credit score and further youngster tax credit score quantities.

Here’s a listing of causes your earnings tax refund could be delayed: 

  • Your tax return has errors.
  • It’s incomplete.
  • Your refund is suspected of id theft or fraud.
  • You filed for the earned earnings tax credit score or further youngster tax credit score.
  • Your return wants additional review.
  • Your return consists of Form 8379 (PDF), injured partner allocation — this might take up to 14 weeks to course of.

If the delay is due to a crucial tax correction made to a restoration rebate credit score, earned earnings tax or further youngster tax credit score claimed on your return, the IRS will ship you an evidence. If there’s an issue that wants to be fastened, the IRS will first attempt to proceed with out contacting you. However, if it wants any extra info, it will write you a letter. 

How can I track my IRS tax refund on-line?

To examine the standing of your 2020 earnings tax refund utilizing the IRS tracker tools, you may want to give some info: your Social Security quantity or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your submitting standing — single, married or head of family — and your refund quantity in complete {dollars}, which you’ll find on your tax return. Also, be certain that it’s been a minimum of 24 hours (or up to 4 weeks in the event you mailed your return) earlier than you begin monitoring your refund. 

Using the IRS software Where’s My Refund, go to the Get Refund Status web page, enter your SSN or ITIN, your submitting standing and your actual refund quantity, then press Submit. If you entered your info appropriately, you may be taken to a web page that reveals your refund standing. If not, chances are you’ll be requested to confirm your private tax knowledge and attempt once more. If all the data seems appropriate, you may want to enter the date you filed your taxes, together with whether or not you filed electronically or on paper.

The IRS additionally has a cell app referred to as IRS2Go that checks your tax refund standing — it’s accessible in English and Spanish. You’ll have the option to see if your return has been acquired, authorized and despatched. In order to login, you may want some info — your Social Security quantity, your submitting standing and anticipated refund quantity. The IRS updates the information on this software in a single day, so in the event you do not see a standing change after 24 hours or extra, examine again the next day. Once your return and refund are authorized, you may obtain a personalised date to count on your cash. 

Where’s My Refund has info on the latest tax refund that the IRS has on file throughout the previous two years, so in the event you’re in search of return info from earlier years you may want to contact the IRS for additional assist. 

Can I examine the standing of my 2020 unemployment refund?

If you suppose there is a delay in adjusting your tax return and getting a refund for the 2020 unemployment compensation, it may nonetheless be too quickly to fear. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, applied in March, excluded up to $10,200 in 2020 unemployment compensation from taxable earnings calculations for people and married {couples} who earned lower than $150,000. That means taxpayers who handled their unemployment compensation as earnings are eligible for a tax break and might get a hefty sum of cash again. 

In late May, the IRS started robotically correcting returns for individuals who overpaid taxes on these advantages, and the method is meant to proceed all through the summer season for the 13 million taxpayers who could be eligible. According to the IRS, the primary batch for more than 2.8 million refunds went out in early June, and one other batch of nearly 4 million refunds began to exit in mid-July. That implies that hundreds of thousands extra will nonetheless have to wait a bit longer. 

However, it’s not straightforward to track the standing of that refund utilizing the net instruments above. To discover out when the IRS processed your refund and for how a lot, we advocate finding your tax transcript by logging in to your account and viewing the transactions listed. We clarify how to try this step-by-step and what else you need to know here

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What do the IRS tax refund statuses mean?

Both IRS tools (online and mobile app) will show you one of three messages to explain your tax return status.

  • Received: The IRS now has your tax return and is working to process it.
  • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you’re owed one.
  • Sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check sent to your mailbox. (Here’s how to change the address on file if you’ve moved.)

What is an IRS TREAS 310 bank deposit?

If you receive your tax refund by direct deposit, you may see IRS TREAS 310 for the transaction. The 310 code simply identifies the transaction as a refund from a filed tax return in the form of an electronic payment (direct deposit). This would also apply to those receiving an automatic adjustment on their tax return or a refund due to March legislation on tax-free unemployment benefits. You may also see TAX REF in the description field for a refund.

If you received IRS TREAS 310 combined with a CHILD CTC description, that means the money is for a monthly advance payment for the enhanced child tax credit

If you see a 449 instead of 310, it means your refund has been offset for delinquent debt.

How much longer will I have to wait for my tax refund to arrive?

The IRS usually issues tax refunds within three weeks, but some taxpayers have been waiting months to receive their payments. If there are any errors, or if you filed a claim for an earned income tax credit or the child tax credit, the wait could be pretty lengthy. If there is an issue holding up your return, the resolution “depends on how quickly and accurately you respond, and the ability of IRS staff trained and working under social distancing requirements to complete the processing of your return,” according to its website

The date you get your tax refund also depends on how you filed your return. For example, with refunds going into your bank account via direct deposit, it could take an additional five days for your bank to post the money to your account. This means if it took the IRS the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you could be waiting a total of 26 days to get your money. If you submitted a tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive.

Should I call the IRS to check the status of my refund?

The IRS received 167 million calls this tax season, which is four times the number of calls in 2019. And based on the recent report, only seven percent of calls reached a telephone agent for help. While you could try calling the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited right now because the IRS says it’s working hard to get through the backlog. You shouldn’t file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return. 

Even though the chances of getting live assistance are slim, the IRS says you should only call if it’s been 21 days or more since you filed your taxes online, or if the Where’s My Refund tool tells you to contact the IRS. Here’s the number to call: 800-829-1040. 

Will my money come by direct deposit or in the mail?

There are a couple of reasons that your refund would be mailed to you. Your money can only be electronically deposited into a bank account with your name, your spouse’s name or a joint account. If that’s not the reason, you may be getting multiple refund checks, and the IRS can only direct deposit up to three refunds to one account. Additional refunds must be mailed. Also, your bank may reject the deposit and this would be the IRS’ next best way to refund your money quickly. 

It’s also important to note that for refunds like the child tax credit, direct deposit isn’t always automatic. Some are now claiming that like the stimulus checks, the first payments for the child tax credit are being mailed. Just in case, parents should sign in to the IRS portal to check that it has their correct banking information. If not, parents can add it for the next payment in August.

For more information about your money, here’s the latest on federal unemployment benefits and how the child tax credit could impact your taxes in 2022

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