October 26, 2020
Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund

7 Reasons You Haven’t Received Your Tax Refund

When tax season is around the corner, everybody starts eagerly waiting for a refund. As per the data available until November 22, 2019. The IRS has already processed more than 155 million tax returns for the current financial year resulting in issuing 111,596,000 refunds which comes to an average refund amount of $2,860.

However, you may do not want to be one of those people who keep asking themselves, “Where’s my refund?”. If you don’t receive your tax return within a reasonable period of time after filing your return. Then there is some problem with your tax filing which you need to address in order to receive your tax refund on time.

You can always check the status of your tax refund using the Where’s My Refund? Tool. The system is not designed to offer detailed explanations of the reasons because of which your money may be delayed.

Tax Refund Not Received?

There are a number of things that can jeopardize the processing of your tax refund. The following are some of the most common reasons for tax refunds to get delayed.

Inaccurate Information

If your tax returns data contains numerical errors or other mistakes. Then it can for sure slow down the pace at which you will receive your refund. The initial scanning of the documents is done by the computers to speed up the process. If an error is detected, then your return is queued for human review which means that an IRS employee must comb through it to find the mistake. This extra process can add days or weeks to the original processing time.

Incomplete Return

Having an incomplete return is also a trigger for an IRS review and can easily result in a longer wait for your refund. For example, if you filed a paper return and forgot to enter a key piece of information such as your Social Security number, or maybe you forgot to sign your tax forms, then the IRS officer will not be able to process your return until those items are checked off.

Victim of Tax Fraud

Victim of Tax Fraud

Tax fraud is the situation when someone uses your personal information for filing a fraudulent tax return and then goes on to claim a refund in your name. For the 2019 tax-filing season, approximately $15.8 million in fraudulent refund claims were identified by the IRS. Among these more than 3,700 fraudulent returns were associated with identity theft. If you also think that you are a victim of tax-related identity theft then you should contact the IRS and the Federal Trade Commission to check and report fraud.

Refund Sent to the Wrong Bank

Refund Sent to the Wrong Bank

If you’re using direct deposit. Filing your return electronically is the easiest and the fastest way to receive your tax refund. This is only true if you have plugged in the right numbers for your bank account into the tax filing portal. If you wrongly entered a digit in the routing or account number then your money could be sent to someone else’s account. It will take a long time and its due process for the money to arrive back to you.


If your refund actually ends up in someone else’s bank account. Then you will have to coordinate with the bank directly in order to get it back. The IRS will not be able to compel the banks to return your money to you.

Claiming Certain Tax Credits

Claiming Certain Tax Credits

Tax credits tend to reduce your tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis. There are certain tax credits, like the Earned Income Credit and the Additional Child Tax Credit. Which often draw an eye for scrutiny from the IRS due to many taxpayers claiming these credits fraudulently. If you have claimed any of this credit in your tax filing then it could be a plausible reason why your refund hasn’t been credited yet.

Amendment of Return

Amending your tax return can also lead to a delay in it being a credit to you. Amended returns have to be mailed and cannot be filed electronically. When you amend your return, it generally takes up to three weeks for it to show up in the IRS system and it can take another 16 weeks to get processed. Which means you may end up waiting several months for your refund.

Offset to Pay a Debt

Offset to Pay a Debt

You owe certain debts to the government, including an unpaid child support loan, unpaid state taxes. If there is any federal student loan, then the IRS can offset your refund by the balance you are owed. If your refund is offset against these debts, then you’ll receive a notice from the Bureau of Fiscal Services which will mention why your refund was taken and also stating the agency the debt was owed to. You have the right to challenge the agency that received your refund.

111,596,000: This is the number of tax refunds issued in 2019, by Nov. 22, 2019

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Timing is Important

It’s also a possibility that your tax refund has been delayed because you filed your return too early or you just choose to wait until the last minute. If you filed your return in January. For example, then maybe a last-minute change in the tax code could have created an error on your return which eventually slowed down its processing.

Similarly, if you waited until the very last minute to get your return. Then it can mean a longer wait for you to receive your refund if the IRS has to process larger than usual volume of tax filings in the current financial year.

Also, if you are filing a paper return then it can also slow things down. The fastest way to file your tax returns and to get your refund on time is to file electronically online.


The points mentioned above are the most common reasons for receiving a delayed refund. A refund can also get late if it’s lost in the mailing process. Having your refund stolen or taken away from your mailbox is also one odd possibility.

A shutdown of the government, such as the kind which took place in January 2019. It can also lead to a longer wait for your return to be processed and for your refund to be credited in your account.

If the Where’s My Refund? tool isn’t sufficing for any answers, then you can turn to your local IRS office for help regarding the same. The IRS officer may be able to track your refund to check out what has happened to it and may also issue a replacement check if needed.

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