You may be wondering when to expect your tax refund now that you have filed your return.  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) aims to have refunds completed for many taxpayers within 21 days.  However, as stated earlier this year there will be some tax returns that will require additional review time and will take longer to send out.  The IRS has a tool on their website called “Where’s My Refund?” that is updated once a day.  You can use this tool to check on your status within 24 hours after it has been received.  You can see the progress in three stages that include return received, refund approved and refund sent.  If you mailed a paper return, you should wait at least four weeks before checking.  Do not forget that choosing e-file and direct deposit for your refund is the fastest and safest way to file.

Why may your tax refund arrive late?

  • Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit.  As the IRS stated earlier refunds will not be released to taxpayers claiming these credits until February 15th.  The IRS also reminds taxpayers that with processing issues and holidays funds may not be available until February 27th for electronic filings.
  • Processing time may be an inconvenience to many taxpayers but this is how the IRS’s plans to prevent identity theft and fraud.
  • Tax return is incomplete with a signature or social security number missing.  Your financial information may also be missing from your return.
  • Your tax return may include errors such as numbers input with forms received do not match.
  • If the IRS suspects you are a victim of identity theft or fraud from the information they received.
  • You have liens against you, owe back taxes, or you face refund offsets for owed money on child support or outstanding student loans.
  • You filed your tax return before you received all your documents.  If you file before all income or tax documents arrive your refund may be flagged and you could be audited.

The IRS recommends to file your tax return early.  The earlier you file the faster you may receive your refund granted you have no outstanding tax debt or issues with your return.  Filing early can also prevent tax return fraud by not allowing a scam artist to collect a refund under your name.

As your tax preparer we suggest to file as soon as you have all your documents.  But if you wish to get an estimate with the documents you have now do not forget it is free.