The IRS noted in a recent statement that most taxpayers are issued refunds by the IRS in less than than 21 days. However, you may find that yours is taking a bit longer.
Here are six things that may be affecting the timing of your refund:
- Security reviews—These reviews by the IRS and its partners are important because they continue to strengthen and help protect against identity theft and refund fraud. Your tax return may be receiving additional review, which means that processing your refund may take a bit longer.
- Errors—If there are any errors, it can take longer for the IRS to process a tax return. Good news is that electronic filing has reduced the number of errors, which are more common in paper returns.
- Incomplete returns—Once more, electronic returns make the most sense. If your return is incomplete, it takes longer to process. The IRS has to contact a taxpayer by mail when more information is needed to process the return.
- Earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit—If you claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) or additional child tax credit (ACTC) before mid-February, the IRS cannot issue refunds as quickly as others. The law requires the IRS to hold the entire refund. This includes the portion of the refund not associated with EITC or ACTC.
- Your bank or other financial institutions may not post your refund immediately—Banks and other financial institutions may take extra time to post a refund to a taxpayer’s account.
- Refund checks by mail—If you didn’t request for your refund to be “Direct Deposit,” it can take even longer for a taxpayer to receive a refund check by mail. Direct Deposit is always faster.
You can track your refund status online by entering your Social Security number and other key information. The IRS explains that “tax returns, like snowflakes and thumbprints, are unique and individual. So too, is each taxpayer’s refund.” All of us taxpayers need to keep this in mind.