Why is my refund not arriving? 7 reasons

With the deadline to file and pay 2019 taxes extended to July 15, 2020, It’s natural for you to wonder “why isn’t my tax refund coming in?”.

Along these lines, you may also be curious to know what effect, if any, the mass distribution of stimulus checks has on most Americans. Or, it could also be that you filed your taxes a while ago and just want to know where your refund is and when it’s coming.

As of March 27, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had processed more than 87 million tax returns and issued nearly 70 million refunds totaling more than $203 billion dollars. In fact, and so far, the average refund was $2,908.2.

Well, to start clarifying some doubts: Neither the extended filing deadline nor the stimulus payment will have any impact on the timing or amount of the refund. And we are going to explain why. But first let’s start at the beginning.

Don’t Blame the Extended Filing Deadline or the Stimulus Check

It can be tempting to assume that the extended filing deadline or the coronavirus stimulus payments have something to do with a delay in receiving your refund. well this is not the case. The I.R.S. began accepting returns on January 27, 2020, with the first refunds issued within 21 days (often within 10-14 days) of acceptance, and that time frame continues.

You should also know that there is no relationship between the amount of your refund and your stimulus check. In case you didn’t know, a tax refund is for overpayment of taxes in 2019, while the stimulus check is an advance tax credit for tax year 2020. And neither affects the other in any way.

Check the status if you don’t know where your refund is or when you will receive it

If you want to know in detail when your refund arrives, start by checking the status using the IRS service “Where’s my refund?”. But before doing so, he gathers the following information:

  • Social security number or ITIN
  • The marital status you entered on your return
  • The exact amount of your refund

Once inside the website, click on the “check the status of my refund” button, enter the requested information, and voila! In a few seconds IRS will tell you the details about your tax refund.

However, this tool does not provide details on why your money may be delayed. In this case, we advise you to contact the IRS. Now, the IRS says you shouldn’t contact them unless:

  • 21 days or more have passed since you filed your electronic return;
  • 6 weeks or more since you mailed your return; or
  • When checking the status in Where’s my refund? A message appears telling you to contact the IRS.

7 Reasons Why Your Tax Refund Hasn’t Arrived Yet

There are several things that can delay the processing of your tax refund. These are some of the most common reasons for a delay.

1. Inaccurate information on your tax return

If your tax return contains any type of error, this may affect the speed at which you will receive your refund. When an error is detected, your return is destined for human reviewwhich means that an IRS employee must check it to find the error, which can add days or even weeks to processing time.

2. The declaration is incomplete

Have an incomplete return too can trigger a manual IRS review, which could mean a longer wait for your refund. If you filed a paper return, for example, and forgot to enter key information like your Social Securityor you did not sign the forms correctly, the IRS will not be able to process your return until these errors are fixed.

3. You are a victim of tax fraud

Tax fraud occurs when someone uses your personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and claim a refund on your behalf. For the 2019 filing season, the IRS identified approximately $15.8 million in fraudulent refund claims, with more than 3,700 fraudulent returns associated with identity theft. If you believe or suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft on your tax return, we recommend that you immediately contact the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission to report the fraud.

4. Your refund was sent to the wrong bank

Filing your return electronically is the fastest way to get a refund, especially if you choose the direct deposit option. This assumes, however, that you entered the correct numbers for your bank account.

But if you put a wrong digit in the routing or account number, your money could end up in someone else’s account. In this case, you will have to work directly with the bank to get it back, as the IRS cannot and will not force the bank to return your money.

5. You claimed certain tax credits

Tax credits reduce your tax liability dollar for dollar. And certain tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), often receive scrutiny from the IRS because fraudulent claims are so common. for these credits. Therefore, if you claimed one of these two credits, it could be the reason why your refund has not yet arrived. Remember: The advance tax credit (coronavirus stimulus) is not a factor taken into account in the 2019 tax process, since it was created in fiscal year 2020.

6. You modified your declaration

Believe it or not, modifying a declaration can cause delays. Amended returns must be mailed instead, rather than filed electronically. And in this case it can take up to three weeks to appear in the IRS system, and another 16 weeks to be processed, which means you could end up waiting several months for your refund.

7. The refund has been used to pay a debt

If you have certain debts, such as child support, state taxes, or federal student loans, the IRS can use your refund to pay the balance owed. In this case, you will receive a notice from the Office of Fiscal Services informing you why your refund was taken and to which agency it was sent. You have the right to dispute the debt with the agency that received the refund.

Note the time

Your tax refund may also be delayed if you file too early or wait until the last minute. If you tried to file in January, for example, a last-minute change in the tax code could have caused an error on your return, thus slowing down its processing.

In the same way, waiting until the last minute to submit your return can mean a longer wait for your refundespecially if the IRS is processing a larger volume of tax returns than usual.

Also, keep in mind that filing a paper return can also slow things down. In this sense, the fastest way to file and get a tax refund is to file online.

In conclusion…

These are the most common reasons why a refund does not arrive. Additionally, another reason a refund may be delayed is that it has been lost in the mail, if you have chosen to have your check sent that way. Another possibility is that the check has already arrived, and you haven’t checked your mailbox. And a government shutdown, like the one that took place in January 2019, could also lead to a longer wait for your return to be processed and your refund to be sent.

If the “Where’s my refund?” doesn’t offer any satisfactory answers, and you’re still wondering “why isn’t my refund coming through?” you can turn to your local IRS office for help. The IRS can trace your refund to find out what happened to it and issue a replacement check if needed.

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