This story is partCNET’s coverage of the best tax software and everything you need to file quickly, accurately and on time.
theis just weeks away, and more than 45 million Americans have already received their . The IRS indicates that most taxpayers will receive their refunds approximately 21 days after filing their if they with .
But what if you do all of that and still don’t see any money from the IRS after three weeks? The three-week estimate may be accurate for the average taxfiler, but various factors can delay your tax refund, sometimes by months.
Read on to learn about some of the most common reasons your IRS money could be delayed this year. To find out more, find thesee how Where and learn to . We will keep this story updated.
Your tax return contains errors or is incomplete
When you file your tax return, it’s important to check all the information you’ve included to make sure it’s accurate. For example, do not confuse the number of state taxes withheld with federal taxes withheld. Before submitting your taxes to the IRS, simply take a look to correct any potential errors and make sure you have completed each field.
Also, if you received child tax credit payments last year, make sure the amount the agency says will result in “significant delay”.is the amount you received. If an incorrect amount is entered, the IRS will need to examine your tax return further, than the
Note that if there is an issue that needs to be resolved after you submit your return, the IRS will first attempt to proceed without contacting you. This means that it may take days or weeks before you know there is a problem.
You owe money to the IRS
If you owe the IRS back taxes, the agency may take all or part of your tax refund to pay off that debt. If your refund contains more money than you owe, you will receive the remaining balance by direct deposit or by check in the mail, but this may be delayed. Taxpayers whose refunds are used by the IRS to cover existing payment obligations should receive a Notice CP49 in the email.
Even if you don’t owe the IRS any money, the agency may keep your tax refund money if you have other debts to state or federal agencies. the Treasury compensation program allows the IRS to take all or part of your tax refund to pay obligations such as alimony, state taxes, or unemployment compensation refunds. Such debts could delay the arrival of your remaining tax refund or eliminate it altogether.
Your bank details are incorrect
Have you changed your bank account since your last tax return? If so, pay close attention to what the direct deposit information says when you file your return this year. If you accidentally forget to update it with your, your refund will be returned to the IRS. This will likely result in a paper check being sent to your doorstep, which could take several weeks longer to arrive.
You filed a paper tax return
This year, the IRS is encouraging taxpayers to file electronically and set up direct deposit to collect their refunds faster. With mail delays, it may take the IRS a while to receive your return in the mail and even longer to issue a paper check.
Filing your return online rather than by mail is more important than ever this year to avoid late refunds, the taxman says. Instead of a paper tax return, use so you don’t have to wait to receive your money.
You claimed the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit
If you filed in January and included the Child Tax Credit or Earned Income Credit in your taxes, by law you could have received your refund no earlier than mid-February. This is to give the IRS more time to prevent fraudulent refunds from being issued.
Assuming no errors were found, the IRS said most taxpayers claiming these benefits should have received their refunds in their bank accounts by March 1.
The IRS suspects identity theft
If the IRS flags a tax return as having a possible risk of identity theft, the agency will hold your refund until your identity is verified. When this happens, you will likely receive a Letter 5071C which provides instructions for proving your identity. If your tax return is legit, don’t panic – a letter from the IRS doesn’t mean there’s proof of identity theft, just a suspicion.
Taxpayers can verify their identity on the IRS websitewhich currently requires , or by calling a dedicated phone number listed on the IRS letter. If these methods fail, you will need to schedule an in-person appointment at a local IRS office.
One method to avoid delays related to identity theft is to create an “Identity Protection PIN” or PIN-IP. This unique six-digit identifier is known only to you and the IRS and prevents anyone from filing a return on your behalf. The IP PIN will only last for one year – you will need to create a new one next tax season if you want the same level of identity protection. You will need an ID.me account to create an IP PIN online, although it is possible to acquire an IP PIN using IRS Form 15227 (PDF) and a telephone interview or in-person appointment.
You have filed an amended tax return
It can happen to anyone – you forgot a form or major deduction, or you accidentally chose the wrong filing status. If the change to your return is significant enough, you will want to file an amended return. The IRS allows anyone who files their tax return electronically to also file their amended return, but only for the current year.
If you file an amended return, you will need to be patient. The IRS warns that amended returns may take up to 16 weeks treat. Before filing an amended return, you may want to wait to receive the tax refund from your original return. The IRS can often correct small errors and adjust your tax refund accordingly. The agency provides you with an online tool to help you determine if you need to file an amended return.
Your statement requires further investigation
As mentioned above, if you see a message that your tax return needs further review by the IRS, you can expect your refund to arrive later than the three-week average. For example, if you receive a Notice CP07, this means the IRS has received your tax return and is holding your refund until further review. You may receive this notice if you are claiming treaty benefits or deductions from the Annex A Section (PDF) of your taxes.
If the agency finds no issues, your refund could arrive in six to 12 weeks, assuming no tax is due. If the IRS finds any issues with your return, they will send you a notice with instructions on what to do within that same time frame. This means that you will receive your refund months later than expected.
For more information, here are theto file your taxes. Too, which may affect the amount of your refund, and to boost your refund.