Waiting for a Tax Refund? 9 Biggest Reasons Why Your IRS Money Could Be Late

Tax deadline day has come and gone -- if you haven't completed a tax return for 2021 yet, learn why you should file one as soon as possible. If you did finish your taxes on time, congratulations! Now where is your tax refund?

Filing your tax return electronically with direct deposit should give you a tax refund in about 21 days, according to the IRS. If you've been waiting longer than three weeks and no refund has arrived yet, there could be a problem or your tax situation may simply require additional processing.

In a March 23 bulletin, the IRS noted that some tax refunds can take a bit longer than the expected 21-day period and also warned taxpayers "not to rely on receiving a refund by a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills." 

Here are nine of the most common reasons IRS money is delayed this year. For more, find the best free tax software, see how to track your refund to your bank account or mailbox, and learn how to create an online IRS account.

When you file your tax return, it's important to cross-check any information you've included to make sure it's accurate. For instance, don't mix up the numbers of state taxes withheld with federal taxes withheld. 

Before you submit your taxes to the IRS, simply take a second look to fix any potential errors and make sure you've filled out each field.

Also, if you received child tax credit payments last year, make sure the amount on Letter 6419 matches the amount you received. If an incorrect amount is entered, the IRS will need to further review your tax return, which the agency says will result in an "extensive delay."

Note that if there's a problem that needs to be fixed after you submit your return, the IRS will first try to proceed without contacting you. That means it could be days or weeks before you know there's a problem.

If you owe back taxes to the IRS, the agency may take some or all of your tax refund to pay off that debt. If your refund contains more money than you owe, you'll receive the remaining balance via direct deposit or check in the mail, but it could be delayed. Taxpayers whose refunds are used by the IRS to cover existing payment obligations should receive a CP49 notice in the mail. 

Even if you don't owe the IRS money, the agency can keep your tax refund money if you have other debts to state or federal agencies. 

The Treasury Offset Program enables the IRS to take all or part of your tax refund to pay obligations such as child support, state taxes or unemployment compensation repayments. Such debts could delay the arrival of your remaining tax refund or eliminate it completely.




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