Yes, the IRS is still sending tax refunds. How to track your money and see why it’s delayed

The IRS is juggling processing refunds with restricted dwell help this summer season. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Has your refund still not arrived although it’s been weeks because you filed? Because of the pandemic, the IRS is still making an attempt to make amends for processing 2020 tax returns that want corrections or changes. The company did announce final week it has processed all tax returns acquired earlier than 2021, however solely people who had been error-free and did not want further review. If you are planning to use your refund for every day bills or debt, how lengthy are you able to count on to wait?

Alongside processing tax returns, the IRS is additionally making ready to ship out the child tax credit payments that begin July 15, and is still sending out weekly batches of stimulus checks. The company is additionally sending supplemental refunds for taxed unemployment advantages. With all that juggling, the IRS is taking for much longer than the normal 21 days to ship refunds. It additionally says you might need to simply look forward to the IRS to clarify the particular dealing with of your return, and that corresponding by cellphone will not velocity up the course of. 

We can inform you how to get your customized refund standing on-line and review some helpful FAQs. For extra IRS money, listed below are a number of methods to know if you qualify for the little one tax credit score. And there are methods to track your third stimulus check if that hasn’t arrived. If you are interested by future stimulus payments or the newest infrastructure deal, we are able to inform you about that as properly. This story is up to date usually. 

What’s holding up your tax refund?

Because of the pandemic, the IRS ran at restricted capability in 2020, which put a pressure on its means to course of tax returns. The IRS is open once more and presently processing mail, tax returns, funds, refunds and correspondence, however restricted assets proceed to trigger delays.

The IRS mentioned it’s issuing most refunds in lower than 21 days. However, according to its FAQ, some are still taking longer, together with mailed paper tax returns and guide processing. The IRS mentioned it’s additionally taking extra time for 2020 tax returns that require review, corresponding to figuring out recovery rebate credit quantities for the first and second stimulus checks — or figuring earned revenue tax credit score and further little one tax credit score quantities.

Here’s an inventory of causes your refund is perhaps delayed: 

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

If the delay is due to a vital tax correction made to a restoration rebate credit score, earned revenue tax or further little one tax credit score claimed on your return, the IRS will ship you a proof. If there’s an issue that wants to be fastened, the IRS will first strive to proceed with out contacting you. However, if it wants any extra data, it would write you a letter. 

Track the standing of your IRS tax refund on-line at this time

To examine the standing of your revenue tax refund utilizing the IRS tracker tools, you may want to give some data: 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 could find on your tax return. Also, ensure that it’s been no less than 24 hours (or up to 4 weeks for those who mailed your return) earlier than you begin monitoring your refund. 

Using the IRS device Where’s My Refund, enter your SSN or ITIN, your submitting standing and your actual refund quantity, then press Submit. If you entered your data appropriately, you may be taken to a web page that reveals your refund standing. If not, you could be requested to confirm your private tax information and strive once more. If all the data seems to be 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 cellular app known as IRS2Go that checks your tax refund standing. The IRS updates the information on this device in a single day, so for those who do not see a standing change after 24 hours or extra, examine again the following day. Once your return and refund are accredited, you may obtain a customized date to count on your money. 

Where’s My Refund has data on the most up-to-date tax refund that the IRS has on file inside the previous two years, so for those who’re on the lookout for return data from earlier years you may want to contact the IRS for additional assist. 

Status messages from the IRS monitoring device you would see

Both IRS instruments (on-line and cellular app) will present you one in every of three messages to clarify your tax return standing.

  • Received: The IRS now has your tax return and is working to course of it.
  • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the quantity of your refund, for those who’re owed one.
  • Sent: Your refund is now on its means to your financial institution through direct deposit or as a paper examine despatched to your mailbox. (Here’s how to change the address on file if you moved.)

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How long you might have to wait before your tax refund arrives

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 your tax return by mail, the IRS says it could take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy. 

Was an IRS TREAS 310 direct-deposited in your bank account?

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

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

Who do I call about my tax refund? The IRS?

While you could try calling the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited right now, so you will likely wait on hold for a while to speak to a representative. The IRS says it’s working hard to get through the backlog and that you shouldn’t file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return.

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. 

Why you might get a paper check in the mail instead of a direct deposit

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. Lastly, your bank may reject the deposit and this would be the IRS’ next best way to refund your money quickly. 

You can also check your unemployment tax refund status online

Those who collected unemployment benefits in 2020 and filed their tax returns early have started to receive additional tax refunds from the IRS. Under new rules from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, millions of people who paid tax on unemployment compensation could be eligible for a hefty sum of money back. 

However, it might not be possible to track the status of that refund using the online tools above. To find out when the IRS processed your refund and for how much, we recommend locating your tax transcript by logging in to your account and viewing the transactions listed there. We explain how to do that here

For more information about your 2020 taxes, here’s how to claim missing stimulus money on your taxes and everything to know about the third stimulus check.

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