Your Tax Return Is Still Being Processed After 21 Days
If you filed your tax return before the deadline and still waiting for your money after 21 days, it’s time to take action. Sometimes it feels like you can’t wait for the IRS to send you your refund. The agency returns your tax form by mail 21 days after you e-file it. If you want to get a check in the mail sooner, use Direct Pay, an online service that lets taxpayers apply for checks through their computers rather than snail mail.
You’ll have to provide information such as your name and Social Security number and sign up with a bank account or savings account that the government will deposit your return into.
If you’re not happy with how Direct Pay works, you can file a paper return and get another 21-day hold period before they process it. Still, suppose they don’t pay out within 30 days of filing it on time (aside from certain exceptions). In that case, they’ll send your money directly to you when they get around to processing it.
How to check on the status of your tax return.
To check on the status of your tax return, you can use the IRS website. The IRS says it takes up to 21 days to process a tax return and issue a refund, but some taxpayers have reported that it’s taking longer than that. You can check on the status of your tax refund online.
Suppose you filed an amended return (IRS Form 1040X). In that case, it might take up to 16 weeks for the IRS to process your amended return and issue any additional refund amount or balance due on your account.
Suppose you are receiving a paper check in the mail. In that case, you have to wait for extra time after your expected delivery date for delivery. You can also track your paper check by using the tax website.
If they can’t give you a more specific answer, ask if you can call in at your convenience to get an update.
If you’ve just got a general answer from the IRS, you can consider doing one of these things:
- Call the IRS and ask for a more specific answer as to why your tax refund is delayed.
- If they say “it’s still being processed,” tell them you need more information and have waited more than 21 days past the date they gave in the original confirmation letter.
- Ask if it will be approved soon or if there’s a problem with your return that needs resolving.
- If they tell you there isn’t a problem but can’t give you an estimate on when it will be approved, ask if you can call back at your convenience to get an update.
Why does the IRS hold my funds?
If there’s been a hold-up or any problems with your return, it will be helpful to be prepared for what comes next.
You’ll have to wait longer for your earlier-than-anticipated tax return. Unfortunately, there’s no way around that, but you can prepare yourself for what’s to come with the following information. Your tax return may need more of your attention if the IRS finds any of the problems listed below:
- You made a math error.
- You need to add more documentation or information.
- You deducted too many expenses against your income.
- Your adjusted gross income is incorrect.
When will the IRS start processing electronic returns
If you filed your tax return before the deadline and it’s been at least 21 days since you sent it in, there are several steps you can take to get your money faster.
For most returns, the IRS will begin processing paper returns on Feb. 12. However, if you filed electronically, the agency may still be working through its backlog of electronic returns; they were only accepted starting on Jan. 27 this year.
Even so, if it’s been more than a month since you sent in your taxes and still no sign of your refund or any responses from the IRS, contact them through their IRS Refund Hotline or by logging into their “Where’s My Tax Refund?” tool to see what’s going on with your return.
You’ll need to know when and how you filed, ready to give over the phone or enter the tool for verification purposes. Suppose either of these options doesn’t provide much help resolving your issue. In that case, you can fill out an Online Payment Agreement application that allows you to report what happened with your refund payment and request a new one be issued if yours was lost or stolen.
Your tax return is still being processed and a refund date will be provided when available.
Here are some reasons to not freak out:
- For tax returns filed electronically, the IRS has a processing window of 21 calendar days. It means your return will be processed in three weeks or less. If it’s taking longer than that, it could mean something more serious.
- The tax refund schedule for 2018 still applies for the 2020 tax season. The IRS has issued guidance about calculating estimated tax refund dates for the 2020 filing season this year due to changes caused by COVID-19 and delays in Congress passing new laws. You can use our updated tool to find out when you’ll get your refund for both years and check your refund status if you’re already waiting for it!
Check on the status of your tax return if there’s been a delay.
If you’ve waited 21 days and still haven’t received your refund, the IRS advises taking the following steps:
Call the IRS to check on your refund. Let them know that you were told your return would be processed by Apr. 14, but it hasn’t been yet. There’s possible an error made when inputting data or an issue with your tax return that needs fixing before processing.
If this is the case, the IRS will send you a letter explaining what to do next. You should also receive notice within six weeks of receiving your letter from your tax preparer if further action is needed due to issues with the information they provided to the IRS on your behalf.
Your e-filed return is still “being processed” after 21 days, so there’s no need to worry if this happens with yours or someone else who files electronically. You should wait until they receive their paper copy before contacting them again. If anything else happens during this period, for example, inform the IRS immediately if you receive another notice.