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Should You Be Worried If Your Tax Refund Is Delayed?

Some of you may already have received your tax refund, but for those who are still waiting for a check or a deposit into their bank account, you might be feeling understandably anxious. Could delays signify a problem with your return, or has the system simply been overwhelmed?

So, when should you be worried, and do you need to take any action?

Use the Where’s My Refund? Tool:

Information about your refund is available online 24 hours after you’ve filed an e-return, with a mailed return taking much longer, sometimes more than a month. A popular tool, many are tempted to check it repeatedly throughout the course of the day, but this isn’t necessary as the system gets updated once every 24 hours, and usually during the night.

What timeframe are refunds generally issued within?

The IRS state that most straightforward refunds are issued in under 21 days, but if a return is incomplete or contains obvious errors, then it might be delayed while these issues are investigated, or it may be subject to an additional IRS review. Identity theft and fraud are two other legitimate causes for a delay in the processing of a refund. However, experts say that a taxpayer will know that there is an issue with their return before they check its status online, as at the point of filing, the IRS won’t permit you to continue if another return has already been filed under your Social Security Number.

If you make use of the Where’s My Refund? Tool, you might also see an error code that could help you determine the cause behind a delayed refund.

If you’re claiming the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit, then this may also have an impact upon when you receive your refund, as the IRS must wait until a certain date to process the return and issue a refund.

Any outstanding student loans, unpaid child support or federal agency debt could also see your refund delayed, but you should receive timely notification if this is the case.

When should you worry that you haven’t received your refund?

If you filed you return more than 3 weeks ago, then it might be time to contact an IRS representative or talk to a tax professional who might be able to advise you of what action to take.

During the pandemic, taxpayers may experience issues with refunds that they wouldn’t normally have, and while most tax professionals have been forced to work from home, they are available to assist you over the telephone or online, so if you’re worried about your taxes, reach out to your trusted tax advisor.