Is Your Tax Refund Still on Hold? Why Is Your IRS Payment Delayed?


Taxes were due two weeks ago. If you are not one of the approximately 130 million taxpayers who have already filed their 2021 tax returns, you should do so immediately to receive a refund or to avoid paying penalties and interest if you owe.

According to the IRS, electronically filing your tax return and requesting a direct deposit should result in a tax refund within approximately 21 days. If your return has not arrived after three weeks, there may be an issue, or your tax situation may simply require additional processing.

The IRS reminded taxpayers in a March alert that certain tax returns may take longer than the typical 21 days. They should “avoid placing a premium on receiving a refund by a particular date, particularly when making large purchases or making payments.”




Ten of the most common reasons for IRS money late this year are listed below. Discover the best free tax software available, learn how to track your refund to your bank account or mailbox, and create an online IRS account for additional information.

It is possible that your tax return is incorrect or incomplete.

Prior to submitting your taxes to the IRS, review them to ensure there are no errors and that you have completed all required fields. It is critical to verify the accuracy of any information you include on your tax return. For example, do not mix up the amounts of state taxes withheld and the amounts of federal taxes withheld.

Additionally, if you received child tax credit payments last year, verify that the amount on Letter 6419 corresponds to what you received. If you provide an incorrect amount, the IRS will have to recheck your tax return, which will result in a “extensive delay,” the IRS says.

If there is a problem with your return after it has been submitted, the IRS will attempt to correct it without notifying you first. This means that you may be unaware of an issue for days or even weeks.

You owe money to the Internal Revenue Service.

A CP49 notice should be mailed to taxpayers whose refunds are being used to satisfy current payment obligations with the IRS. If you owe money to the IRS, the government may deduct a portion or the entire amount from your tax refund to cover the debt. If your refund is greater than what you owe, you will receive the difference via direct deposit or a mail-in cheque, although this may take some time.

Even if you owe no money to the IRS, the agency has the right to retain your tax refund if you owe money to other state or federal governments. Under the Treasury Offset Program, the IRS may use all or a portion of your tax refund to satisfy obligations such as child support, state taxes, or unemployment compensation repayments. Such debts may result in a delay or loss of your remaining tax refund.




Your financial information is inaccurate.

Have you made any changes to your bank accounts since you filed your last tax return? If that is the case, when filing your tax return, pay close attention to the direct deposit information. If you fail to update your return with your updated direct deposit information, it will be returned to the IRS. This will almost certainly result in the mailing of a printed check to your home, which could take several weeks.

You mailed your tax return.

This year, the IRS is encouraging taxpayers to file electronically and establish direct deposit in order to receive their refunds more quickly. Due to postal delays, the IRS may take an extended period of time to receive your return and even longer to print your check.

The IRS warns that filing your return electronically rather than by mail is critical this year to avoid refund delays. Avoid waiting for your money by using one of these free online tax filing services instead of filing a paper tax return.

Your stimulus payments were entered incorrectly.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the majority of Americans will receive a third stimulus check in 2021. While that money is not taxable, if you claim the recovery rebate credit, you must reconcile it on your tax return.

IRS Commissioner Charles P. Retting recently testified before the House Ways and Means Committee that the IRS will receive “far more than 10 million returns” in 2020 as a result of taxpayers failing to reconcile their stimulus payments with the amounts recorded for their recovery rebate credits. These returns require manual review, which adds significant time to the process.

Learn how to avoid this issue by using IRS Letter 6475 or your online IRS account when filing your tax return and claiming the recovery rebate credit.

You completed and submitted Form 8379, Allocation for Injured Spouse.

Even though it sounds unpleasant, this form has nothing to do with physical ailments or limitations.

When a married couple filing jointly owes the government money, the IRS may withhold their tax refund to satisfy the debt. If only one of the partners owes money, the other can be considered “damaged” and be entitled to at least a portion of the anticipated tax refund. Complete IRS Form 8379.

While not as prevalent as other reasons, the delay in receiving a tax refund is substantial. According to the instructions for Form 8379, taxpayers should anticipate a processing time of up to 14 weeks for paper submissions and up to 11 weeks for electronic submissions.

The IRS suspects identity theft.

If the IRS suspects that a tax return was used to commit identity theft, the IRS will withhold your refund until your identity is confirmed. When this occurs, you will almost certainly receive a 5071C letter containing instructions on how to prove your identity. Avoid panic if your tax return is genuine; an IRS letter does not constitute proof of identity theft, only a suspicion.

Taxpayers can confirm their identification on the IRS website, which currently requires the creation of an account or contacting the IRS directly at the dedicated phone number specified in the letter. If none of those methods work, you must schedule an appointment with a local IRS office.

Establishing a “Identity Protection PIN,” or IP-PIN, is one method of avoiding delays caused by identity theft. This six-digit identification number is unique to you and the IRS and prevents others from filing returns in your name. You’ll need an account to obtain an IP PIN online, but you can also obtain one by completing IRS Form 15227 (PDF) and scheduling a phone interview or in-person session. Because the IP PIN is only valid for one year, you’ll need to create a new one next tax season if you want the same level of identity protection.


By filing Form 1040-NR, you requested a refund of tax withheld on Form 1042-S.

Form 1042-S, Foreign Person’s United States-Source Income Subject to Withholding, is issued to non-resident foreign nationals earning taxable income in the United States. This is a frequently used form by non-Americans who receive college scholarships in the United States. While this is an uncommon occurrence, it may cause a significant delay in receiving your tax refund.

Foreign nationals who receive 1042-S documentation must file a 1040-NR return to claim the money withheld as a tax refund. The IRS estimates that reviewing these returns will take up to six months, depending on when the return is submitted or when the 1040-NR is due.

You filed a corrected tax return.

It can happen to anyone: you may overlook a form or a significant deduction, or you may accidentally select the incorrect filing status. You’ll want to file an amended return if the amount of your recovery has changed significantly. According to the IRS, anyone who electronically files their tax return can also electronically file an amended return for the current year.

If you decide to file an amended return, you must exercise patience. Amended returns, according to the IRS, can take up to 16 weeks to process. You may wish to delay filing an updated return until you receive your initial tax refund. The IRS frequently corrects minor errors, and your tax refund is adjusted accordingly. The IRS offers an online tool to assist you in determining whether you are required to file an amended return.


Your return should be reviewed once more.

If the IRS notifies you that your tax return requires additional examination, your refund will take longer than three weeks to process. For instance, if you receive a CP07 Notice, this indicates that the IRS has received your tax return and is withholding your refund pending a more thorough investigation. If you claim treaty benefits or deductions on Schedule A (PDF) of your taxes, you may receive this notice.

If the IRS determines that your return contains errors, it will send you a notice with instructions within the same time frame. This means that your refund will take months longer to process than anticipated. If no issues are discovered, your return should arrive within six to twelve weeks, assuming there are no outstanding taxes.


Update on the Stimulus: Average Americans Received 4.9 Percent More Money From the IRS This Year.

Stimulus Checks: Currently, 73,000 Checks Worth Up to $1,200 Are Being Distributed.

Is Another Stimulus Package on the Way? The Push for Payments of Up to $360 Per Month Continues.

If you require additional information, here are the most critical dates and deadlines for filing your taxes. Ten tax changes that may affect the size of your return, as well as thirteen tax deductions and credits that may help you maximize your refund.

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