Is Your Tax Refund Still Not Arriving? It’s Time to Keep Track of Your Money

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Whether you filed by the April 18 deadline or just last week, you can start checking the status to see when your refund will arrive.

If you filed your tax return – whether before or after the April 18 deadline – a tax refund should be on its way to you soon if you’re expecting one. If you filed on time, your refund should be available within 21 days if there are no errors and you filed electronically and set up direct deposit. Late filers can expect their refund to be delayed.

Income Tax Refunds

 

After the IRS begins processing your tax return, you can begin tracking it to your bank account to keep track of it. Tracking your refund will also ensure that your tax return was accepted by the IRS and not rejected due to errors.

If you requested a paper check for your tax refund, it will take a little longer (about six to eight weeks), but you can track it to your mailbox using a free Postal Service tool.

We’ll show you how to use the IRS tools to track your tax refund online, as well as how to access your online IRS account for more information. If you haven’t already, here’s how to file your taxes for free and take advantage of this year’s biggest tax changes. This story is frequently updated.

How long does the IRS take to send tax refunds?

The IRS typically issues tax refunds within three weeks, but some taxpayers may have to wait a little longer. If there are any mistakes on your tax return, you may have to wait a long time.

When an issue delays your return, the IRS website states that its resolution “depends on how quickly and accurately you respond, as well as the ability of IRS staff trained and working under social distancing requirements to complete the processing of your return.”

The method you used to file your return also influences the date you receive your tax refund.

If you receive your tax refund via direct deposit, it may take up to five days for your bank to deposit the funds into your account. This means that if the IRS takes the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank takes five days to deposit it, you may have to wait a total of 26 days to receive your tax refund. Because there is no waiting period for direct deposit, online services such as Venmo and Cash App can deliver your tax refund a few days sooner.

If you mailed your tax return, the IRS estimates that it will take six to eight weeks for your refund to arrive once it has been processed.

What will be included in this year’s tax refund?

This year, your tax refund could be boosted by a number of factors. As is customary, if you overpaid your taxes in 2021, you will be reimbursed. However, if you are a parent, you may also be eligible for the remainder of your child tax credit, as well as reimbursement for money spent on child care-related expenses last year.

tax refund

 

Also, if you haven’t received your third stimulus payment, you might get it when you get your tax refund.

What factors could cause my tax refund to be delayed?

Here is a list of possible reasons why your income tax refund may be delayed:

  • There are mistakes on your tax return.
  • It’s not complete.
  • Your refund is being investigated for identity theft or fraud.
  • Your return requires additional scrutiny.
  • Your return includes Form 8379 (PDF), which may take up to 14 weeks to process.
  • You failed to reconcile your stimulus payment with the recovery rebate credit.

According to IRS Commissioner Charles P. Retting’s testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, the agency received “far more than 10 million returns” last year where taxpayers failed to properly reconcile their received stimulus payments with their recovery rebate credit, necessitating a manual review and resolution.

The IRS will send you an explanation if the delay is due to a necessary tax correction made to a recovery rebate credit, earned income tax credit, or additional child tax credit claimed on your return. If there is a problem that needs to be resolved, the IRS will attempt to proceed without first contacting you. If it requires additional information, it will write you a letter.

How to Use the IRS’s Where’s My Refund Tool

To use the IRS tracker tools to check the status of your 2021 income tax refund, you’ll need to provide some personal information: your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number; your filing status (single, married, or head of household); and your refund amount in whole dollars, which you can find on your tax return. Before you begin tracking your refund, wait at least 24 hours (or up to four weeks if you mailed your return).

Go to the Get Refund Status page of the IRS tool Where’s My Refund, enter your personal information, and then click Submit. If you entered your information correctly, you will be directed to a page that displays the status of your refund. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If everything looks correct, you’ll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, as well as whether you did so electronically or on paper.

What happened to my refund? has information on the most recent tax refund that the IRS has on file within the last two years, so if you’re looking for return information from previous years, check your IRS online account. You’ll be able to see the total amount you owe, your payment history, key information about your most recent tax return, notices you’ve received from the IRS, and your address on file through your own personalized account.

How to Track Your Tax Refund Using IRS2Go

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go, which is available for both iOS and Android and allows you to check the status of your tax refund. It is available in two languages: English and Spanish. You will be able to see whether your return was received, approved, and sent.

You’ll need your Social Security number, filing status, and expected refund amount to log in. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight, so if you don’t see a status change, return the next day. Once your return and refund have been approved, you will be given a personalized date to expect your money.

A phone with the IRS2Go mobile app displayed on a pile of cash

The IRS2Go mobile app allows you to check on the status of your refund.

What exactly do these IRS tax return statuses imply?

Both the IRS tools (online and mobile app) will display one of three messages to explain the status of your tax return.

The IRS has received your tax return and is working to process it.

Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if any.

Sent: Your refund is on its way to your bank, either as a direct deposit or as a paper check delivered to your mailbox. (If you’ve moved, here’s how to update your address on file.)

 

What is the significance of the Tax Topic 152, Tax Topic 151, or IRS error message?

Although the IRS’ Where’s My Refund tool will generally show one of three main statuses for your refund – Received, Approved, or Sent – there are a variety of messages and notices that some users may see.

Tax Topic 152 is one of the most common, a generic message indicating that you’re likely to receive a refund but that it hasn’t yet been approved or sent. The notice simply directs readers to an informational topic page on the IRS FAQ website that explains the different types and timing of tax refunds.

During the 2022 tax season, many Reddit tax filers who filed early report receiving the Tax Topic 152 notice from the Where’s My Refund tool, along with the following concerning message: “We apologize for the inconvenience, but your return processing has been delayed beyond the normal time frame. You can keep checking back here for the most up-to-date information on your refund. We understand how important your tax refund is, and we are working hard to process your return as soon as possible.”

The alleged delay could be a pre-programmed message intended for taxpayers claiming the child tax credit or earned income tax credit. Due to additional fraud prevention measures, filers with those credits could have received their refunds as early as March 1. Several Reddit users commented that the message eventually went away and that they received notifications that their refunds had been processed.

Tax Topic 151 presents a completely different scenario: This means that the IRS is now reviewing your tax return. The agency is either verifying specific credits or dependents, or it has determined that your tax refund will be reduced to pay money it believes you owe. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait about four weeks for the IRS to send you a notice outlining what you need to do to resolve the status.

Other IRS refund codes that a small percentage of tax filers will receive indicate freezes, math errors on tax returns, or undelivered checks. The College Investor has compiled a comprehensive list of IRS refund reference codes and errors.

Can I contact the IRS for additional assistance with my taxes?

While you could contact the IRS to inquire about your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is extremely limited. You should not file a second tax return or inquire about the status of your return with the IRS.

For more information, visit the IRS’s Let Us Help You page on its website. It also suggests that taxpayers seek in-person assistance at Taxpayer Assistance Centers. You can contact your local IRS office or call 844-545-5640 to schedule an appointment. If you are eligible for assistance, you can also contact the Taxpayer Advocate Service at 877-777-4778.

Though the chances of receiving live assistance are slim, the IRS advises calling the agency directly only if it has been 21 days or more since you filed your taxes online, or if the Where’s My Refund tool directs you to do so. During regular business hours, you can reach us at 800-829-1040 or 800-829-8374.

My bank statement shows an IRS TREAS 310 transaction. Why?

If you receive your tax refund via direct deposit, the transaction may be identified as IRS TREAS 310. The 310 code simply identifies the transaction as an electronic payment of a refund from a filed tax return (direct deposit). For a refund, you may also see TAX REF in the description field.

If you see a 449 instead of a 310, it means your refund has been reduced to account for past-due debt.

Why did the IRS mail my tax refund rather than deposit it in my bank account?

Your refund may be mailed to you for a variety of reasons. Your funds can only be electronically deposited into a bank account in your name, the name of your spouse, or a joint account. If that isn’t the case, you may be receiving multiple refund checks, and the IRS can only direct deposit up to three refunds to one account at a time. Refunds must be mailed again. Also, your bank may reject the deposit, in which case the IRS will refund your money as soon as possible.

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It’s also worth noting that direct deposit isn’t always automatic for refunds. Sign in to your IRS account just in case to ensure that the agency has your correct banking information. Learn how to track a refund check from the IRS to your mailbox if you receive one in the mail.

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