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Where’s my IRS refund and why is it taking so long to process?

It’s almost football season, and many tax filers are still waiting for their 2020 tax refunds to arrive in the mail or their bank accounts.  If your IRS money is missing in action, stay calm…minor consolation – you are not alone.  The IRS is still working through its massive backlog of unprocessed tax returns and correspondence that have piled up due to the pandemic.  On top of processing returns, the IRS has also been busy sending advance stimulus payments, making adjustments for 2020 refunds (i.e. for tax-free unemployment compensation benefits), and started issuing child tax credit payments.

Based on recent conversations with agents, the IRS is approximately 200 days behind in processing e-filed returns, paper-filed returns, and correspondence.

Reasons your refund could be delayed

  • Your return was paper-filed.
  • Your tax return has errors.
  • Your return is suspected of identity theft or fraud.
  • You filed for the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit.
  • Your return claimed missed recovery rebate credits.
  • The IRS is reviewing your tax return.
  • Your refund was applied to a debt you owe to the IRS or another federal or state agency.

What should you do

Do NOT send another copy of this return.  That will just add more clutter to the IRS pile and will also trigger a possible duplicate filing or subsequent return filing issue that will only slow down the processing of your return and further delay the issuance of any refund.

Check the IRS website for processing updates. You may try calling the IRS, too, but we’ve found the ability to even talk to an IRS agent is nearly impossible with the constant IRS message of “extremely high call volume, please try again later”.

Be patient…we are seeing that the IRS has finally released refunds for Taxpayers that filed their returns through April 2021. The IRS is paying interest on these delayed refunds so that helps a little!

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