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Yes, you can track your IRS tax refund. This is how you can see if your money has been delayed



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Delays can be frustrating for those planning to use their refunds to pay bills or for everyday expenses.

Angela Lang/CNET

Not sure whether your tax refund is being processed? Many do. The IRS is experiencing delays in reviewing its 2020 tax returns for several reasons, including manually processing millions of returns. The agency is also working send batches of $1,400 stimulus payments and recalculation re taxes paid on unemployment benefits 2020. Unfortunately, this means that the IRS’s timetable for issuing refunds in less than 21 days may not be as accurate.

Two online tools give you personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return. You can also call the IRS for help, but telephone assistance is iffy. We’ll also tell you what it means if you’ve received a direct deposit labeled ‘IRS TREAS 310’. By the way, there are also ways to to follow your third stimulus check if that hasn’t arrived in the last batch of payments.

Want news of other incentive money coming your way? If you have kids, here it is how do you know if you qualify? for the extensive child tax credit payments this year, starting on July 15. Or maybe you want to check if the government is holding on wage arrears that you must claim. We recently updated this story.

Why are there delays in issuing tax refunds?

Due to the pandemic, the IRS ran at limited capacity in 2020, which put a strain on its ability to process tax returns and send incentive checks. The IRS is open again and processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, the agency said, but the pandemic continues to cause delays to some services.

The IRS said it now makes most refunds in less than 21 days, but some take longer, including for paper tax returns. The IRS said it also takes longer than 21 days to issue refunds for some 2020 tax returns that need review, such as determining credit for recovery discount amounts for the first and second incentive checks or calculating the amounts of income tax and additional child tax credit.

Here’s a list of reasons your refund might be delayed:

  • Your tax return contains errors.
  • It’s incomplete.
  • Your refund has been affected by identity theft or fraud.
  • You have applied for the employed person’s tax credit or additional child tax credit.
  • Your return must be further assessed.
  • Your return includes Form 8379, Injured Spouse Assignment – this can take 14 weeks to process.

How can I see the status of my tax refund with online tools?

To check the status of your income tax refund using the IRS trackers, you have several things to hand: your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status — single, married, or householder — and your full dollar refund amount, which you can be found on your tax return. Also, make sure it’s been at least 24 hours before trying to track your refund.

Use the IRS tool Where’s My Refund, enter your Social Security Number or ITIN, your filing status, and your exact refund amount, then press To send. If you have entered your details correctly, you will be taken to a page with your refund status. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax information and try again. If all information seems correct, you will need to enter the date you filed your taxes, 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, come back the next day.






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How do I interpret these IRS messages?

Both 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 processing it.
  • Approved: The IRS has processed your return and confirmed the amount of your refund, if you owe one.
  • sent: Your refund is now on its way to your bank via direct deposit or as a paper check to your mailbox. (here’s how to) change the address in the file if you have moved.)

Why did I see an IRS 310 direct deposit in my account?

If you receive your tax refund by direct deposit, you may see IRS TREAS 310 for the transaction. The 310 identifies the transaction as an IRS tax refund. This would also apply to those who receive an automatic adjustment to their tax return or a refund due to new legislation on tax-free unemployment benefits. You may also see TAX REF in the description field for a refund.

If you see one 449 instead, it means your repayment has been settled for past due debts.

How long does it take for the IRS to send my tax refund?

The IRS usually issues tax refunds within three weeks, but some taxpayers wait more than a month to receive their payments. If there are errors, it may take longer to process and fulfill your tax refund. The same applies to people who have submitted an application for a payroll tax credit or de child tax credit. (Here is who is eligible for the child discount.)

The date you get your tax refund also depends on how you filed your return. For example, going with refunds to your bank account via direct deposit, it can take up to five days for your bank to deposit the money into 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 can wait a total of 26 days to receive your money.

If you filed your tax return by 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.

Can I call the tax authorities with questions?

While you can call the IRS to check your status, the agency’s live telephone assistance is currently extremely limited, so you may be on hold for a while to speak with a representative. The IRS also says you should only call if it’s 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. This is the number to call: 800-829-1040.

How about tracking my unemployment tax refund?

Those who received unemployment benefits in 2020 and filed their tax returns early have started receiving additional tax refunds from the IRS. Under new rules of the American rescue plan Bill of 2021 could make millions of people who paid taxes on unemployment benefits eligible for a hefty sum of money back.

However, it may not be possible to track the status of that refund using the online tools above. To find out when the IRS processed your refund and for how much, we recommend that you locate your tax statement by logging into your account and viewing the transactions listed there. We explain how to do that here.

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


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