The IRS Has Refunded Over 78 Million Taxpayers. This Is How to Determine the Status of Yours.


If you filed a last-minute tax return, you could get your 2021 refund sooner than you think.

According to the IRS, nine out of ten refunds have arrived within 21 days this season. According to the agency, as of April 15, it had issued more than 78 million refunds totaling more than $242 billion, with the average refund currently standing at $3,103.

According to the IRS, there are several reasons why an e-filed return may be delayed. Your filing may require a manual review due to missing information, errors, or issues with identity theft.




Paper is still at the heart of the agency’s problems in processing tax returns and correspondence.

The IRS flagged millions of returns last year for stimulus payment errors, and the agency advised taxpayers to double-check their filings.

“We urge special attention to those who received an economic impact payment or an advance child tax credit last year,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig in a statement. “In order to avoid delays, people should make sure they report the correct amount on their tax return.”


Backlog of paper

In her annual report to Congress in January, National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins emphasized the IRS’s paper challenges, calling it “the IRS’ Kryptonite” and citing a December backlog of 5 million pieces of taxpayer mail. It continues to be a problem.

“Paper remains at the heart of the agency’s challenges in processing both tax returns and correspondence,” Collins said on April 21 during a House subcommittee hearing.


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While error-free electronic filings may take 21 days, refunds for paper returns may take “six months longer,” according to Collins.

As of April 15, the agency had received nearly 118 million electronic returns, accounting for approximately 96 percent of all filings. This could change as more returns arrive before the Oct. 17 deadline extension.


How to Check Your Refund Status

The quickest way to get an update on your refund is to use the IRS2Go app or the “Where’s My Refund?” online tool. The portal displays three stages of the process: return receipt, refund approval, and refund sent, along with an estimated deposit date for each.

The status is available 24 hours after the IRS receives your electronic filing or four weeks after you mail your paper return. The portal is updated daily, usually overnight.

According to the IRS, if your refund is less than expected, a portion of the funds may have been diverted to past-due federal or state taxes, unemployment debt, child or spousal support, or other federal debt.


You May Have Received an IRS Letter—why Here’s You Shouldn’t Disregard It.

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A lower payment may also indicate a mistake on your return, such as the amounts reported for your stimulus or child tax credit.

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