Where’s My Refund?

Boulder CO, Accounting Firm

So you’ve filed your tax return with the IRS and are looking forward to getting your refund. But day after day, it doesn’t arrive. Why?

There are several possible reasons why it hasn’t hit your bank account. Most require no further action from you; it’s simply a matter of waiting. The most common causes of a delayed refund are:

Return Not Processed – The IRS says it usually takes 21 days to process an electronically filed return and 6 weeks for paper returns. But ‘usual’ doesn’t mean ‘always.’ Processing could be held up for several reasons, or for no reason at all.

Identity Verification – The IRS is working to cut down on fraudulent tax returns. Occasionally, they stop processing a return and send you a letter asking you to verify your identity. You do this by calling the IRS and confirming your identity by providing additional information. In rare instances, you’ll need to go to the closest IRS office and confirm your identity in person. Receiving a letter does not mean there is a problem with your return or that someone has used your information fraudulently. However, the IRS will not continue processing your return until the identity verification process has been completed.

Inaccurate or Incomplete Information – A tax return is initially processed through a computer system. If the information on the return doesn’t match the system, it may be flagged for review by a human. This can add days, weeks, or even months to the processing of your return. Anytime you add a human to the process, it’s going to slow things down.

Tax Credits – Certain tax credits are prone to being claimed fraudulently. Examples include the Earned Income Credit (EIC), Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), and the Fuel Tax Credit. If one of these credits is present on the return, the return may be flagged for human review.

Refund Sent to the Wrong Bank – Direct Deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund. However, if your account number is entered incorrectly, your refund may be deposited into the wrong account.

Amended Return – Filing an amended return to add or correct information on the return can cause delays. The processing frequently takes 20 weeks.

Refund Offset to Pay a Debt – Your refund can be offset to pay certain debts, such as an unpaid balance from a previous tax year, unpaid child support, unpaid state taxes, or delinquent federal loans. If this happens, you’ll receive a letter from the Bureau of Fiscal Service explaining how much of your refund was taken and why.


To check the status of your refund, you can use the IRS’s Where’s My Refund . You can also sign into your IRS account for further information, including any notices and letters that have been sent to you.

Most of the time, your return and refund will be processed without you needing to do anything except wait. Occasionally, there is an issue that needs to be addressed. If you believe that the delay in your refund falls into this category, your tax professional, or an Enrolled Agent (EA) or CPA that specializes in tax resolution, may be able to help you resolve the matter.”

About Treu Accounting
Treu Accounting is a results-driven small business accounting expert, delivering services designed to build resilience and exceed goals. Treu Accounting tailors our services to fit your unique needs. We provide opportunities for an ongoing conversation from the initial consultation to understand you and your business to the customized proposal, to ensure you get what you need.
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