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Reasons Your Tax Refund May Be Delayed

The only way to get an update on your tax refund is from the IRS’s Where’s My Refund tool   if can make the name of the tool a link] (the IRS asks that you not call them for updates, and it’s unlikely to get through with their wait times anyway!).  If you had a tax professional file your return, they are not able to get updates for you, as have no direct information from the IRS on refunds.

The following are the 7 main reasons if your tax refund hasn’t arrived

  1. The return has the earned income tax credit, the additional child tax credit, or an Injured Spouse allocation
  2. The amount that you reported as having received in 2021 for the third stimulus check (typically around March 2021) or the child tax credit payments (monthly payments from July 2021-December 2021) does not match what the IRS records say they sent you
  3. The return was paper filed – there is approximately 2.7 million paper returns from 2021 (for the 2020 tax year) and 2.3 million paper returns from 2022 (for the 2021 tax year) waiting to be processed so far
  4. There was an identity issue with your return – you did not report your identity pin (if you have one, typically if there were past identity theft concerns) or someone else tried to file this year with your same taxpayer ID number
  5. You did not provide direct deposit information (or correct information) and a paper check must be mailed
  6. You filed a 2nd tax return or an amended return before the original return was processed
  7. Staffing shortages at the IRS – the IRS had planned to hire 10,000 new workers to process information but has only brought about 2,000 new employees on so far (which will slow the processing of all of the above

If you have not filed yet, the following tips will help ensure that your refund is received as timely as possible:

  1. Report the correct amount of the third stimulus check and child tax payments received in 2021 (the IRS sent letters on both out in January 2022)
  2. Electronically file your tax return
  3. Include your identity pin (if you have one)
  4. Request your refund to be direct deposited
  5. File a complete and accurate tax return (example: wages reported match your W2’s)

Statistics on tax returns filed in 2021 (through April 1st):

  • More than 63 million refunds have gone out
  • More than 204 billion dollars has been refunded so far
  • More than 89 million returns have been processed
  • The average tax refund payment is $3,352 (so far this year) *expected that this will likely decrease with the returns that were filed closer to the tax deadline, or that were extended and will be processed at a later date