March 25, 2024 | Posted in:

Why is My Tax Refund Delayed?

If you e-file your tax return, you can generally expect to receive your refund within three weeks of it being accepted by the IRS. Expect four or more weeks if you mail in your tax return. But delays can happen.

Taxpayers beyond the three to four week waiting period may start getting antsy and will be wondering “where is my tax refund?” Following are several reasons why your tax return processing may be taking longer than normal, and how you can check the status of your refund using online resources.

Refund Delays: The Common Culprits

These are the most common reasons that refunds are delayed, according to the IRS:

  • Errors or incomplete information. It could be an error in a Social Security number or a mismatch with how a name is recorded with the Social Security administration.
  • Needs further review. In this case the IRS may be highlighting known areas of error or fraud.
  • Affected by identity theft or fraud. This delay is very common and can be as simple as a thief having already filed a tax return using your Social Security number.
  • Bank or creditor refers your information to the IRS due to suspicious activity.
  • Certain credits. If your tax return includes either the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit, the IRS may want to double-check your calculation because these credits often contain errors.
  • Your return includes Form 8379 (injured Spouse Allocation). These returns can take up to fourteen weeks.

Check the status of your expected refund

If you expect a refund and it goes beyond the stated time frame AND it does not include one of the items listed above, visit Where’s my refund? at the IRS website.

To check on the status of your refund, you’ll need:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your filing status
  • The exact refund amount

The Where’s my refund? tool is getting better every year. Your refund status is typically available within one to two business days of the IRS accepting your tax return. If your tax return is not found, it means there may be a problem that requires a follow up on your part.

Where’s your state refund?

The above IRS tool is for federal tax refunds only. Most states have their own process that allows taxpayers to inquire on the status of their state refund. For instance, here are shortcuts to New Jersey and some nearby states:

If you need further assistance this tax season, check out our Tax Season resources page, or get in touch with one of our knowledgeable accountants and advisors.


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