The IRS Is Processing Your Tax Returns: What Could Be Taking So Long?

by | Jul 18, 2022 | General | 0 comments

It’s that time of year again. Time to gather all of your paperwork, sit down at the kitchen table, and get started on your income tax return. At least, it’s supposed to be that time of year. But for many people, filing their taxes has become a frustrating and time-consuming process that seems to take longer every year.

If you’re one of those people who are wondering why it’s taking so long to get your tax refund, there could be a number of reasons. The IRS has a lot of returns to process, and some of them are more complicated than others. Here are some of the things that could be causing a delay in your tax refund:

1. Your Return Includes Errors

It’s not uncommon for people to make mistakes when they’re preparing their taxes. But even a small error can cause a delay in processing your return. The IRS will need to contact you to correct the mistake, and that can take some time.

For example, if you accidentally omit a digit from your Social Security number, the IRS won’t be able to process your return. Or if you enter an incorrect bank routing number when you’re requesting direct deposit for your refund, the money will be sent to the wrong account.

2. Your Return Is Incomplete

If you forget to include a required form or document with your tax return, the IRS will need to contact you to get the missing information. This can cause a significant delay in processing your return.

During tax season, the IRS receives millions of tax returns. And while most of them are complete and accurate, there are always a few that are missing information.

3. Your Return Needs Further Review

In some cases, the IRS may need to take a closer look at your return. This is usually done if there’s something that doesn’t seem quite right. For example, if your deductions are significantly higher than in previous years, the IRS may want to review your return to make sure you’re not taking any improper deductions.

This process is called an audit, and it can take some time to resolve. If you’re selected for an audit, the best thing to do is to cooperate with the IRS and provide any information they request.

4. Your Return Is Affected by Identity Theft or Fraud

Unfortunately, tax-related identity theft and fraud are becoming more and more common. If your return is selected for review because the IRS suspects fraud, it could take some time to resolve the issue.

If you think you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft or fraud, the IRS has a special process for handling these cases. You can find more information on their website.

5. Your Return Includes a Claim for an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit

If you’re claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), your refund may be delayed. The IRS has put special procedures in place to prevent fraud and abuse of these credits, and that includes issuing refunds in installments.

If you’re claiming the EITC or ACTC, you can expect to receive your refund in two installments. The first installment will be paid within 21 days of the IRS receiving your return. The second installment will be paid no later than mid-February.

6. Your Return Includes a Form 8379, Injured Spouse Allocation

If you’re claiming the Injured Spouse Allocation on your tax return, your refund may be delayed. This is because the IRS needs to take extra time to process these returns.

If you’re claiming the Injured Spouse Allocation, you can expect to receive your refund within 14 weeks.

What to Do if You’re Waiting for Your Tax Refund

If you’re waiting for your tax refund and you’re not sure what’s taking so long, the best thing to do is to contact the IRS. They can give you specific information about your return and let you know what’s causing the delay.

You can:

  • Call the IRS Refund Hotline at 1-800-829-1954 — When you call, you’ll need to provide your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact amount of your refund. And be aware that there can be long wait times for this hotline.
  • Check the IRS Where’s My Refund? Tool — This tool will give you specific information about your return and let you know when you can expect to receive your refund. You’ll need to provide your Social Security number, filing status, and the exact amount of your refund.
  • Contact your tax preparer — If you used a tax preparer to file your return, they may be able to help you track down your refund.
  • Use the IRS2Go mobile app — This app allows you to check the status of your refund and also make a payment if you owe taxes.

Remember, even if there is a delay in processing your return, you will eventually receive your refund. So don’t worry if it takes a little longer than you expected. The IRS is working hard to process all of the returns they receive, and they will get to yours as soon as they can.

The Bottom Line

There might be a number of reasons why your tax refund is taking longer than expected. The best thing to do is to check the status of your return using the IRS Where’s My Refund? Tool or the IRS2Go mobile app.

If you still can’t get an answer, you can try calling the IRS Refund Hotline, but be aware that there may be long wait times. And if you used a tax preparer to file your return, they may be able to help you track down your refund.

Most likely, your refund will eventually come through, even if there is a delay in processing. So don’t worry too much and just be patient. The IRS is working as hard as they can to get everyone their refunds as quickly as possible.

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