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Due to the continuing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IRS has posted the following website notification:

Expect delays if you mailed a paper return or had to respond to an IRS inquiry about your e-filed return. You should only call if it has been:

  • 21 days or more since you e-filed
  • "Where's My Refund" tells you to contact the IRS

Do not file a second tax return.

For more information regarding 2020 processing procedures, see IRS Operations During COVID-19: Mission-critical functions continue

In a typical tax year, the following conditions may delay the refund and/or change the refund amount.

  • Taxpayer claims certain credits covered under the PATH Act of 2015. See Refund Delays for Those Claiming EITC and ACTC.
  • Taxpayer owes back taxes, either individual or business (refund offset).
  • Taxpayer owes delinquent child support (refund offset).
  • Taxpayer has certain delinquent federal debts, such as student loans, etc. (refund offset).
  • The last name and social security number of the primary taxpayer must be the same as on last year's return or the return will be delayed at least one week for re-matching. (Use the name as it appears on the mailing label of the tax package.)
  • Estimated Tax payments reported on the return don't match the Estimated Tax payments recorded on the IRS Master File. This generally occurs when:
    • The spouse made separate Estimated Tax payments and filed a joint return, or vice versa; or
    • The return was filed before the last Estimated Tax payment was credited to the account.
  • The taxpayer has a Schedule E Supplemental Income and Loss claiming a deduction for a questionable tax shelter.
  • The taxpayer is claiming a blatantly unallowable deduction.
  • The taxpayer is considered to be a first-time filer. A first-time filer is defined as a taxpayer who has not filed a tax return as a primary or secondary taxpayer during the previous ten years.
  • Form 8379 Injured Spouse Allocation is attached. According to the instructions for Form 8379, it will take the IRS approximately 14 weeks (11 weeks if filing electronically) to process the form.

Related Links

Note that any link in the information above is updated each year automatically and will take you to the most recent version of the document at the time it is accessed.

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