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5 Reasons Your Tax Refund May Be Delayed

May 02, 2023

Though returns were due April 18, you might still be waiting on your refund if you were owed one. Your return could be missing important info. Here’s what you should know.

With 5,000 new staffers, the IRS has had a much smoother tax season than last year’s. However, you might still be waiting on your refund. Most refunds are sent within 21 calendar days of filing if you chose direct deposit. Wondering why you haven’t received yours yet? We share our thoughts here.

5 reasons your refund might be late:

  1. You filed a paper return- E-filing is always encouraged, and guarantees faster refunds. If you filed a paper return, it could take the IRS a while to receive your return in the mail, process the tax return and issue you a paper check.
  2. Your return has errors or is not filled in completely- Sometimes taxpayers will mix up the numbers of state taxes paid with federal taxes paid or enter an incorrect amount for federal income tax withheld. Another issue might be claiming a dependent who was already claimed on another tax return. In these cases, the IRS will need to further review your return which could result in a significant delay for your refund.
  3. You owe back taxes- If you owe back taxes, you should have received a CP49 notice in the mail which alerts you that your refund (if applicable) has been used to cover your payment obligations. The IRS may take some or all of your tax refund and put it towards your debt. If there is a remaining balance, it will be sent to you via direct deposit or a check in the mail…but it could take some time.
  4. Your direct deposit information is inaccurate- Your return will be sent back to the IRS if you mistakenly forgot to update your new direct deposit details (if it has changed).
  5. Your return was flagged for potential identity theft- The IRS will hold your refund if they find a reason to believe you may be a victim of ID theft. You will receive a 5071C letter to verify your identity. To avoid this problem next year, create an IP-PIN, which is a unique six digit ID only known to you and the IRS, which stops criminals from filing a return in your name. You can obtain an IP-PIN by going to

What should you do if you haven’t received your refund?

You can check the status of your refund by going to You'll need to know your social security number, your filing status and the exact amount of your refund request. This tool is available 24 hours after electronically filing a tax return, but usually not until 4 weeks after filing a paper return. The status will dictate next actions. In most cases, the answer is to be patient and wait for the IRS to complete the process and issue the refund. Many states have a similar tool on their websites.

Questions about your refund? We can help. Contact us.

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