Where Is My Tax Refund?

Question:
Where is your IRS or State tax refund, or why is your tax refund smaller than expected?
Article, Solution:
Money Transfer

To check the status of your federal or state refund, please follow the steps below. Step 1 is for eFile.com users only; all others start at Step 2.

Step 1: For eFile.com users only: You need to verify that the IRS and/or state have accepted your return before you check where your tax refund money is. Sign in to your eFile.com account. Once you signed in, you will see the status of your return(s) on the right side page:

  • Accepted
  • Not e-Filed
  • Pending
  • Rejected.

Only if your return has been accepted can you check where your tax refund or tax money is. 

Step 2: If your IRS return has been accepted and you selected direct bank deposit, check your bank account first to see if your refund was deposited.

Potential reasons or different factors why the tax return process could be delayed at the IRS:

  • A manual tax return review by the IRS due to potential errors, data omission, identity theft or fraud, etc.
  • Adjustment or correction to the Child Tax Credit or Recovery Rebate Credit amount
  • Tax returns that claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit
  • Tax returns that include Form 8379 - Injured Spouse Allocation.

Additional delay factors could be due to tax return processing backlogs created during the 2020 Tax Season:

As a result, the receipt of taxpayer's refunds would also be delayed.

Step 3: After you have checked your bank account and/or the e-collect lookup tool and your refund has not been deposited, use the tool below to check on your IRS tax refund status. See how to check your state refund status in Step 4 below.

Where Is My IRS Tax Refund?

Check Your IRS Federal Tax Refund Status
Requires Your IRS accepted Tax Return for Tax Year 2021

What is Your Federal IRS Tax Refund Status?

Start Now to Find Out

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Check Your IRS Federal Tax Refund Status
Select the Filing Status that you used on your 2021 Tax Return
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On the IRS tool, you will generally see one of the following:

  • Return Received
  • Refund Approved
  • Refund sent.

You might see this message after you have entered your data. Many taxpayers have experienced slower than anticipated IRS tax refund processing speed or time in 2021 and 2022. If your status shows that your information entered was incorrect when you are certain you have entered the right data, this may be due to these delays, meaning they do not have record of the data or refund amount you entered in their system yet and thus cannot display the information. The message might look like this:

image description

Once you have passed the page on top, you will see this message shown below. The progression bar for your tax return might vary on what is shown below:

image description

Step 4: If your state tax return(s) has been accepted, check here: Where is My State Tax Refund?

  • Select respective state(s) for contact information.

Lower Tax Refund Amount or Delay in Refund:

  • If your tax refund is lower than expected, this could be due to government related payments or taxes you or your spouse might owe, e.g. overdue IRS or state taxes, delinquency in child support payments, etc. The IRS might offset these outstanding payments with your tax refund.
  • Only if you selected on eFile.com to have your fees deducted from your refund: Check the status of your e-Collect direct deposit tax refund now. Once the IRS has transferred your tax refund to our partner bank - EPS Financial - your tax refund funds will be transferred to the bank account you entered on your tax return.
  • If you claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit or Additional Child Tax Credit, your entire refund will not be released by the IRS by law until February 2022.
  • If you claimed the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) on your e-Filed 2021 Return as the substitute for not having received the 3rd stimulus payment, the IRS will most likely adjust or remove the Recovery Rebate Credit from your 2021 Tax Return if the IRS has record that the payment was indeed issued to you or anyone claiming the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return. However, we do recommend that you monitor the refund you receive from your return and if you get the stimulus payment in error, then you should contact the IRS before you take any other steps, e.g. file a tax amendment, to your 2021 Tax Return.

IRS Refund Delay Update:

The IRS continues to update taxpayers on the delays they are facing that are affecting tax return processing and thus issuing tax refunds. Get the details on our tax news page or see key points:

  • The IRS paper processing effort is outdated and needs updating - they intent to work on this through 2023.
  • The IRS needs to double their current processing rate in order to keep up, but this cannot be done due to understaffing.
  • The previous backlog of 20 million returns has increased to 21.3 million returns.
  • The IRS had around 15.8 million returns which were suspended and required manual review by IRS employees often due to the Recovery Rebate Credit (RRC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) entries taxpayers claimed they did not receive when they actually did.
    • The IRS identified 12.1 million math errors for the RRC, CTC, and others.
    • There are. 13.3 million returns awaiting processing and 6.8 million returns which are suspended.
    • For these errors, the IRS issued a letter which can be responded to by the taxpayer - responding to this letter added to the delays.
  • The IRS works on a first come first-served basis, meaning they will continue working through previously mailed 2020 Returns before working on 2021 Returns.
  • The total unprocessed returns count, including induvial, businesses, and amended returns, is 23.8 million returns.

Read more here on why your IRS tax refund could be delayed and more details on 2022 delays for 2021 Refunds. See the actual report here:

2022 Midseason IRS Report

If you have further questions about the status of your IRS tax refund, contact the IRS here.

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