Waiting on Your Tax Refund? This Could Be Why
The IRS has already processed about 62 million returns, but if you're still waiting, it might be for one of these reasons.
Since the tax filing season began in late January, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has disbursed more than 45 million tax refunds worth close to $152 billion.
The average refund payment comes in at $3,352, which is about $400 higher compared to this time last year. In all, the agency has received a total of about 63.5 million tax returns and has processed nearly 62 million of them.
The news from the IRS is positive, but the agency is still hard at work on previous years’ tax returns that could have a sizeable impact on when refunds for 2021 returns will be issued. And with tax day only weeks away, there is a sense of urgency entering the minds of millions of taxpayers across the country.
What Triggers Manual Review?
As reported by GOBankingRates.com, most refunds are sent out within three weeks but “certain cases require additional time to review.” So, what could these entail? Errors, incomplete returns, returns affected by identity theft or fraud, claims filed for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), or the use of Form 8379—Injured Spouse Allocation could all necessitate extra time.
One of the biggest reasons for a delay is filing a paper return. Most tax experts agree that will only add to the massive backlog of unprocessed returns and correspondence at the agency.
“There are simple steps that people can take that will help them navigate this challenging tax season,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig noted in a recent statement. “Filing electronically and using online resources instead of calling are just some of the steps that can help people avoid delays.”
Tracking Your Tax Refund
Instead of blindly waiting for one’s refund to arrive, taxpayers now have options to track the payments.
On top of the list is the IRS’ “Where’s My Refund?” tool, which enables taxpayers to track their tax refund and know exactly when it’s arriving. Individuals can access the “Where’s My Refund?” tool via IRS.gov or the IRS2Go app. Taxpayers usually can see an update one day after the IRS has received an electronic filing or four weeks after sending a paper return. The tool generally updates once per day, usually overnight.
Those expecting a paper check can receive alerts on when the payment is exactly arriving via the USPS Informed Delivery. Just head over to the USPS Informed Delivery page, select “Sign Up for Free,” and then follow the simple instructions.
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.