Where is My Refund?

UPDATE: July 2, 2021

Delayed Tax Refunds

If you are one of the millions of Americans waiting patiently for your 2020 federal tax refund, I sympathize with you. This tax filing season has been one like no other, and I am hearing from many of you wondering why you have not yet received your refund.  There are several reasons for the delays, but I can assure you that your return was prepared with the utmost care and expertise.  The delay is likely part of the sizable IRS backlog of returns.

As of June 5, the IRS reported there are more than 18 million 2020 returns in its pipeline to be processed, and a few million others yet to be finalized from 2019! This past year has been extraordinary, the least of which being the COVID public health crisis and widespread unemployment. In addition, a series of stimulus payments from the federal government to help people navigate COVID financial woes was also managed by the IRS.  To ensure all eligible citizens received stimulus money, the IRS told Americans that everyone should file a tax return. Between more returns, unemployment amendments, issuing stimulus money and processing regular returns, the IRS has had its work cut out for it. Like many businesses during the pandemic, the IRS also had obstacles to overcome like switching its workforce from onsite to virtual and operating with a reduced staff.

If you have not received your refund 21 days after filing, it is likely that it is under further review. This happens more frequently when a return includes a recovery rebate credit, suspicion of identity theft or fraud, a claim for an earned income credit or other criteria that will ping a return for a manual review.

If you receive any correspondence from the IRS regarding your return, please contact me with a copy of the letter you received so I can guide you through it. Unfortunately, due to the delays in processing, some notices are being sent by the IRS despite timely follow-up by you, or myself on your behalf.

At this point, I am as powerless as you to speed up the IRS process, so patience is our best option right now. I will keep you updated with all important news from the IRS that may apply to your situation.  Thank you for your trust in me as your tax return professional and I look forward to serving you in the future.  – Deborah


from the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is aware that taxpayers are experiencing more refund delays this year than usual. Typically, the IRS processes electronic returns and pays refunds within 21 days of receipt. However, the high volume of 2020 tax returns being filed daily, backlog of unprocessed 2019 paper tax returns, IRS resource issues, and technology problems are causing delays. This is due, in part, to the IRS’s need to manually verify large numbers of Refund Recovery Credits (RRCs), as well as Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Advance Child Tax Credit (ACTC) 2019 adjusted income lookback claims. Once a return is processed by the IRS and loaded on to the IRS systems, TAS may be able to assist with delayed refunds if you meet our case criteria. Please review our case criteria tool to determine if TAS may be able to assist.

Currently, the vast majority of processing delays result from tax returns not loaded onto the IRS system or in “suspense” status awaiting IRS action. To date, over 6 million electronic returns have been “suspended” due to issues requiring manual processing or return inconsistencies. Until these returns move out of suspense status, neither the IRS nor TAS can access these cases to work them or provide taxpayers with any additional information. TAS cannot accept refund delay cases that are in suspense, including requests for assistance made through the Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS). Until the tax return is posted on the IRS system, neither TAS nor the IRS can see or access the return information. And until TAS can see the return on the system, we cannot advocate to resolve any issues. TAS is working with the IRS to identify how taxpayers can use the Where’s My Refund tool to determine their status.

TAS understands the frustrations and hardships caused by these unprecedented circumstances. Please be patient if you learn your refund claim is not yet processed and understand why TAS cannot accept your case at this time. We continue to work with the IRS to identify ways to address this backlog. TAS will continue to update its case acceptance criteria as the situation changes. Meanwhile, you are encouraged to check the IRS.gov page, Where’s My Refund, for the most current information on the processing of your return. The IRS also has information on this issue at IRS.gov/newsroom and IRS.gov/refunds. We will continue to update taxpayers on the delays and any progress we make.

Source: The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS.