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Still no tax refund? How to Track Your Refund Status with IRS Tools


Did you file your taxes before the May 17 deadline, but still don’t see your refund?

Sarah Tew / CNET

If you the Tax day deadline this year – it’s in less than a week, on May 17th – and submitted your tax return for 2020Now you may be wondering where is your income tax refund from the IRS? If you expect a refund on your return, you can use the IRS tracker tools to get an update on the status of your money.

However, there are several reasons why your refund might be delayed, such as if you filed a paper tax return in the mail or if the IRS performs additional calculations because you qualify for a Credit for chargeback discount. The two trackers allow you to see if your tax return has been received, whether the IRS is processing it, or when your refund has been deposited or sent to your account. We’ll show you how to track your refund. (If you have yet to file your taxes, you will file your tax return before the deadline or apply for an extension with the IRS.)

These IRS tools are also useful when you have a missing stimulus payment like one Credit for chargeback discount on your 2020 tax return. If you think you have third stimulus check is missing, the IRS has an app you can use follow the status of your payment. Find out more about whether you might need it here file an amended tax form, if you qualify for other COVID-related credits and benefits, and if you have a fourth incentive payment this year. If you have children, you can calculate as follows how much money you could get through tax credits for children. If you became unemployed in 2020, you can get extra money with your refund qualify for a tax break. Here’s also how you can tell if the IRS a tax refund that you must claim. This story is regularly updated.

Why does it take so long for the tax authorities to process my tax return?

Because of the pandemic last year, the IRS ran with a limited capacity, reducing the ability to file tax returns as well send incentive checks. The IRS is now open again, processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, the agency said, but the pandemic continues to delay some services.

The IRS said it currently makes most repayments in less than 21 days, but some take longer, including paper tax returns in the mail. The IRS said it also takes longer than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that need to be revised, such as Credit for chargeback discount amounts for the first and second incentive check or calculating the income tax credit and additional child discount amounts.

How do I check the status of my income tax refund?

To track the status of your tax refund, you will need several things: your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status – single, married, or householder – and your full dollar refund amount, which can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it’s been at least 24 hours before trying to track your refund.

Using the IRS tool Where’s My Refund, enter your SSN or ITIN, your submission status and your exact refund amount, then press To send. If you have entered your details correctly, you will be taken to a page showing your refund status. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax information and try again. If all the information looks correct, you should enter the date you filed your tax, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go that checks the status of your tax refund. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight, so if you don’t see a status change after 24 hours or more, check back the next day.

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How long will it take to receive your tax refund from the IRS?

The IRS usually issues tax refunds within 21 days, and many people get their refund much earlier. This year, as the IRS faces complications, it is expected that some taxpayers with longer wait times will have to wait to receive their payments.

If there are errors, it may take longer for the agency to process and handle your tax refund. The same goes for people who have filed a claim for a payroll tax credit or the child tax credit. (Here is who qualifies for the child discount.)

The date you receive your tax refund also depends on how you filed your tax return. For example with refunds into your bank account via direct deposit, it can take another five days for your bank to credit it to your account. This means that if it took the IRS the full 21 days to issue your check and your bank five days to post it, you will have to wait a total of 26 days to receive your money.

If you filed your tax return in the mail, the IRS says it can take six to eight weeks for your tax refund to arrive. That’s where tracking your refund comes in handy. Here are some possible dates when you could receive your refund if you have submitted or plan to submit an application electronically.

When your tax refund could come, if there is no additional delay

If you submit a file on this date

This is the fastest

This is the last

March 1

8 March

March 22nd

April 1st

April 8

April 22nd

15 of April

April 22nd

6 May

May 17 (last day to submit)

May 24

June 7

October 15 (last day with extension)

22 Oct.

November 5th

Could your tax refund be delayed?

The IRS has a list of reasons why your refund may be delayed.

  • Your tax return contains errors.
  • It is not complete.
  • Your refund has been affected by identity theft or fraud.
  • You have applied for the payroll tax credit or additional child tax credit.
  • Your return should be reviewed.
  • Your tax return includes Form 8379 (PDF), Injured Spouse Assignment – this can take up to 14 weeks to process.

Does the IRS answer phone questions?

While you can technically call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live phone assistance is currently extremely limited, so you can be on hold for a while to speak to a representative. The IRS also says you should only call if it has been 21 days or more since you filed your taxes online, or if the Where’s My Refund tool tells you to contact the IRS.

For more information about your 2020 taxes, here is how to claim missing incentive money about your taxes and everything you need to know about the third stimulus check.

What these messages mean when checking your refund status

Both the IRS tools (online and mobile app) show you one of three messages to explain your tax filing status.

  • Received: The IRS now has your tax return and is working to process it.
  • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you owe one.
  • sentYour refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check in your mailbox. (Here’s how change your registered address if you have moved.)

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