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  • Writer's pictureMMH CPA

How to Check Your Refund Status and 6 Reasons It Might Be Delayed

Anticipating a tax refund can sometimes feel like an eternity is passing by. If you e-file your tax return, you can generally expect to receive your refund within three weeks of it being accepted by the IRS. Expect four or more weeks if you mail in your tax return. However, delays can happen which will affect the timing of your refund.

Refund Delays: The common culprits

These are the most common reasons that refunds are delayed, according to the IRS:

  1. Errors or incomplete information. It could be an error in a Social Security number or a mismatch with how a name is recorded with the Social Security administration.

  2. Needs further review. In this case the IRS may be highlighting known areas of error or fraud.

  3. Affected by identity theft or fraud. This delay is very common and can be as simple as a thief having already filed a tax return using your Social Security number.

  4. Bank or creditor refers your information to the IRS due to suspicious activity.

  5. Certain credits. If your tax return includes either the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS may want to double-check your calculation because these credits often contain errors.

  6. Your return includes Form 8379 (injured Spouse Allocation). These returns can take up to fourteen weeks.

Check the status of your expected refund

If you're just curious, or if you expect a refund which goes beyond the stated time frame and it does not include one of the items listed above, visit Where's My Refund? for updates on the whereabouts of your anticipated refund.

To check on the status of your refund, you'll need:

  • Your Social Security Number

  • Your filing status

  • The exact refund amount

This online tool is getting better every year. Your refund status is typically available within one to two business days of the IRS accepting your tax return. If your tax return is not found, it means there may be a problem that requires a follow up on your part.

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