These Simples Mistakes Could Delay Your 2022 Tax Refund

These Simples Mistakes Could Delay Your 2022 Tax Refund

Common mistakes include missing signatures, paper filing, and unpaid back taxes.


Despite the huge backlog of millions of unprocessed tax returns and correspondence from previous years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appears to be making great headway in getting this year’s refunds out to Americans.

On Thursday, IRS commissioner Chuck Rettig gave the House Ways and Means Committee, as well as the general public, some much-needed positive news when he confirmed that, through March 11, the agency issued more than forty-five million refunds totaling more than $151 billion.


“Refund returns continue to be processed on a priority basis ahead of returns with a balance due or full payment of the underlying liabilities,” he continued, adding that he foresees the agency clearing its massive backlog “absolutely before December.”

If this is true, it appears that it is not only the IRS’ fault for the often-reported long delays in sending out refunds. Perhaps taxpayers have something to do with that as well. Let’s dig deeper to identify what the common issues could be.

Owing the IRS Money

For those who still owe back taxes to the IRS (or have other debts to state or federal agencies), keep in mind that the agency has the right to take some or all of a person’s tax refund to settle the debt.

“If your refund contains more money than you owe, you'll receive the remaining balance via direct deposit or check in the mail, but it could be delayed,” CNET noted. “Taxpayers whose refunds are used by the IRS to cover existing payment obligations should receive a CP49 notice in the mail.”

Inaccurate or Incomplete Return

One of the simpler but more common mistakes that a taxpayer can avoid is to make sure that the return is signed. “Sending in an unsigned paper return is like sending in no return at all. At that point, it’s not valid,” IRS spokesperson Eric Smith recently told AARP. “We have to send it back to you for your signature. Then you have to send it back to us. So, unfortunately, it then becomes part of our paper backlog.”

Another important step to take is to “cross-check any information you’ve included to make sure it’s accurate,” CNET wrote. “Simply take a second look to fix any potential errors and make sure you’ve filled out each field.”

Paper Returns

Most tax experts agree that filing a paper return this year is a big no-no since it will only add to the backlog of unprocessed returns. For those who file electronically and choose direct deposit, the IRS anticipates they will receive their refund within twenty-one days.

“There are simple steps that people can take that will help them navigate this challenging tax season,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said in a statement. “Filing electronically and using online resources instead of calling are just some of the steps that can help people avoid delays.”

Incorrect Banking Information

For those who have changed bank accounts within the past year, make sure to update that information on the tax return.

“If you accidentally forget to update it with your new direct deposit details, your refund will be sent back to the IRS,” CNET warned. “This will likely result in a paper check being mailed to your house, which could take several weeks longer to arrive.”

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Image: Reuters.