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Where is my refund?

I am hearing from a lot of taxpayers regarding their refunds, or the lack thereof. First and foremost, unless you receive some sort of notice from the IRS, there is nothing I can do to speed the refund process.

Congress has enacted many tax law changes in the last year, many of which did not get passed until December 2020 and March 2021. The IRS is a large and bulky operation, which often results in inefficiencies and slow responses to these types of massive changes. They usually require several months to reprogram their computers, test the results and put major changes into place. Add to that the fact that many current IRS employees are Baby Boomers who are steadily retiring. Finally, the pandemic gave rise to extended shut downs of IRS facilities, most of which are not yet back up to full capacity.

Any one of these factors would result in slow downs, backlogs, and disruptions in the refund process. Added together the result is near-chaos. Two returns, similar in nature, filed on the same day can have two very different outcomes, such as one refund is paid immediately and the other is delayed for months. These occurances are being blamed on pandemic-related causes but the reality is they are inexplicably random.

Here is the IRS' advice when it comes to when your return will be processed and your refund sent:

"What you should do: If you filed electronically and received an acknowledgement, you do not need to take any further action other than promptly responding to any requests for information. If you filed on paper, check Where’s my refund? If it tells you we have received your return or are processing or reviewing it, we are processing your return, but it may be under review. We’re working hard to get through the backlog. Please don’t file a second tax return or contact the IRS about the status of your return."

For full content of what the IRS has to say about their response to the pandemic processing, click here:

All I can tell you is that your return was electronically filed. Beyond responding to an IRS inquiry, there is nothing I can do to speed IRS processing. I know this has a negative affect on many of you relying on your refund or requiring verification for a new mortgage loan. Upon request, I can provide you with your form 9325 which shows when your return was accepted by the IRS and serves as proof that your return was electronically filed. I wish there was more I could do. 

If you wish to check on the status of your refund, click here: You will need your filing status, the primary taxpayer's social security number, and the whole dollar amount of your refund (i.e. no cents).