Why Some Tax Refunds Take Longer to Process

Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than three weeks if you file electronically and choose direct deposit, some refunds may take longer to process. Many different factors can affect the timing of a refund after the IRS receives a return. For example, a refund may be delayed when:

  • A return has errors or is incomplete
  • A return might be affected by identity theft or fraud
  • A return needs to a correction made to the Child Tax Credit or Recovery Rebate Credit amount
  • A return includes a claim for the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • A return includes a claim for the Recovery Rebate Credit
  • A return includes Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation

As always, the fastest way to get a tax refund is by filing electronically and choosing direct deposit.

If you are due a refund and you’re wondering where it is, you can use the Where’s My Refund? tool on the IRS website. Information for the most current tax year filed is generally available within 24 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return. If you filed a paper return, you should allow four weeks before checking its status.

2020 tax returns

Waiting on a 2020 tax return to be processed? If your tax return from 2020 still hasn’t been processed, you should still file your 2021 tax return by the April due date or request an extension to file.

People who file their 2021 return electronically will need to provide their their Adjusted Gross Income, or AGI, from their most recent tax return. If you are one of those who are still waiting on your 2020 tax return to be processed, make sure to enter $0 (zero dollars) for last year’s AGI on the 2021 tax return.

Finally, if your 2020 return has not been processed or if you used the Non-Filers tool in 2021 to register for an advance Child Tax Credit payment or third Economic Impact Payment in 2021, there are special instructions that apply to your 2021 tax returns. You should review those special instructions on the IRS website.

This article carries no official authority, and its contents should not be acted upon without professional advice. For more information about this topic, please contact our office.