Tax Refund Delays: Reasons Your IRS Money Has Not Arrived Yet
Tax Refund Delays: Reasons Your IRS Money Has Not Arrived Yet

Tax Refund Delays: Reasons Your IRS Money Has Not Arrived Yet

While errors on tax returns can slow down repayments, other delays are less avoidable.

Sarah Tew / CNET

This story is a part of Taxes 2022CNET’s coverage of the best tax software and everything else you need to get your report filed quickly, accurately and on time.

Filing a tax return electronically with direct deposit is the best way to get one quick tax refund. The IRS claims that taxpayers who do so will receive their refund within about 21 days. If you have submitted your return and it has been longer than three weeks without a refund, there may be a problem or you may have included a form in your return that requires additional processing.

In a Bulletin March 23The IRS noted that some tax refunds may take a little longer than the expected 21-day period and also warned taxpayers “not to rely on receiving a refund before a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills.”

You should also be aware that it may take the bank several days to process the IRS deposit before it becomes available. Online payment services like Venmo and Cash App skip processing delays and give your money two days in advance.

Here are nine of the most common reasons why IRS money is delayed this year. For more, find best free tax softwarelook, how track your repayment to your bank account or your mailboxand learn how create an online IRS account.

Your tax return is incorrect or incomplete

When submitting your tax return, it is important to cross-check all the information you have included to make sure it is correct. For example, do not mix the number of withheld state taxes with withheld federal taxes. Before you file your tax return with the IRS, simply take an extra look to correct any errors and make sure you have filled out each field.

Also, if you received the child tax deduction last year, make sure the amount is on Letter 6419 corresponds to the amount you received. If an incorrect amount is entered, the IRS must further review your tax return, which says the agency will result in a “comprehensive delay.”

Please note that if there is an issue that needs to be resolved after you submit your return, the IRS will first try to proceed without contacting you. This means that it may take days or weeks before you know there is a problem.

You owe the IRS money

If you owe taxes to the IRS, the agency can take some or all of your taxes back to pay that debt. If your refund contains more money than you owe, you will receive the remaining balance by direct deposit or check by mail, but this may be delayed. Taxpayers whose repayments are used by the IRS to cover existing payment obligations should receive one CP49 message in the mail.

Even if you do not owe money to the IRS, the agency can keep your tax refund money if you have other debts to government or federal agencies. That Treasury Offset Program allows the IRS to take all or part of your tax refund to pay obligations such as child support, state taxes, or unemployment benefit repayment. Such debt may delay the arrival of your remaining tax refund or eliminate it altogether.


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Your bank details are incorrect

Have you changed bank account since you last reported your tax? If so, pay close attention to what direct deposit information says when submitting your return this year. If you accidentally forget to update it with yours new direct debit information, your refund will be sent back to the IRS. This will likely result in a paper check being sent to your house, which may take several weeks longer to arrive.

You filed a tax return on paper

This year, the IRS encourages taxpayers to file electronic returns and set up direct deposit to get their refund back faster. With postal delays, it can take a while for the IRS to receive your return by mail and even longer to issue a paper check.

Filing your return online instead of by mail is more important than ever this year to avoid refund delays, says the IRS. Use instead of a tax return on paper one of these free online tax registration services so you do not have to wait to receive your money.

You have not entered your stimulus payments correctly

In 2021, most Americans received a third payment of stimulus checks related to Covid-19 pandemic. Although this money is not taxable, it must be reconciled with your tax return if you claim the recovery credit credit.

Recently testimony to the ways and means of the House, IRS Commissioner Charles P. Retting said that by 2020, the IRS “received far more than 10 million returns” where taxpayers failed to properly reconcile their stimulus payments with the amounts entered for their recovery rebate credits. These returns require a manual review and create long delays.

If you are planning to claim the recovery rebate credit on your tax return, you can learn how to avoid this mistake by using IRS Letter 6475 or your online IRS account.

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To get a quick tax refund, make sure you enter your child tax prepayments correctly.

Sarah Tew / CNET

You filed Form 8379, Assignment of Injured Spouse

It sounds painful, but this form has nothing to do with physical injuries or disabilities.

When a couple applying jointly owe a federal debt, the IRS can seize their tax refund to offset the money they owe. If only one half of the couple owes money, the other partner can be considered “damaged” and request at least part of the expected tax refund. Enter IRS Form 8379.

While not as common as some of the other causes, this tax refund delay is significant. According to instructions in Form 8379taxpayers who submit the form must expect up to 14 weeks of processing time or 11 weeks if they submit electronically.

The IRS suspects identity theft

If the IRS marks a tax return to have a possible chance of identity theft, the agency will withhold your refund until your identity is confirmed. When that happens, you’ll probably receive one 5071C letter giving instructions to prove your identity. If your tax return is legitimate, do not panic – an IRS letter does not mean there is evidence of identity theft, just a suspicion.

Taxpayers can do that confirm their identity on the IRS websitewhich currently demands creating an ID.me account, or by calling a dedicated phone number listed on the IRS letter. If these methods fail, you will need to schedule a personal appointment at a local IRS office.

One way to avoid identity theft-related delays is to create an “Identity Protection PIN” or IP PIN. This unique six-digit ID is known only to you and the IRS and prevents others from submitting feedback in your name. The IP PIN will only last for one year – you will need to create a new next tax season if you want the same level of identity protection. You will need an ID.me account to create an IP PIN online, although it is possible to obtain an IP PIN using IRS Form 15227 (PDF) and a telephone interview or a personal appointment.

You have filed an amended tax return

It can happen to anyone – you have forgotten a form or a major deduction, or you have accidentally selected the wrong filing status. If the change in your return is large enough, submit a changed return. The IRS also allows anyone who submits their tax return electronically to e-file their amended tax return, but only for the current year.

If you file an altered return, practice patience. The IRS warns that changing returns can take up to 16 weeks must be treated. Before submitting an amended return, you may want to wait to receive the tax refund from your original return. The IRS can often correct small errors and adjust your tax refund accordingly. The agency offers an online tool to help you decide if you need to submit an amended entry.

Your return needs to be reviewed further

As mentioned above, if you see a notice that your tax return needs to be reviewed further by the IRS, you can expect your refund to come later than the average three weeks. For example, if you receive one CP07 message, it means that the IRS has received your tax return and is withholding your refund until it completes a more thorough review. You may receive this notice if you claim treaty benefits or deductions Table A section (PDF) of your taxes.

If the agency finds no problems, your refund may arrive within six to 12 weeks, provided no tax is payable. If the IRS finds problems with your return, it will send you a notice with instructions on what to do within the same period. This means that you will receive your refund months later than you expected.

For more information, here is main dates and deadlines to report your tax. Also, here are 10 tax changes that may affect the amount of your refund, and 13 tax deductions and deductions to increase your refund.

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