Important information you should know about tax refunds

As the tax filing season approaches, the Internal Revenue Service warns taxpayers not to plan on receiving their refund on a certain date, especially when making major purchases or paying bills. Some tax returns may require additional review and those refunds may take longer.

Many factors affect the time it takes to receive tax refunds

Just as each tax return is unique and individual, so is the reimbursement of each taxpayer. Here are some things that taxpayers should keep in mind if they expect a reimbursement, and they hear about other people who already received theirs.

Different factors may affect the time of reimbursement. The IRS, along with its partners in the tax industry, continue to strengthen security reviews to help protect against identity theft and reimbursement fraud.

While the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, it is possible that a particular taxpayer’s refund may take longer. Some tax returns will require additional review and their processing will take longer than others. It may be necessary when a statement has errors, is incomplete or is affected by identity theft or fraud. The IRS will contact the taxpayer by mail when more information is needed to process the return.

Timeline for tax refunds

By law, the IRS cannot issue refunds for people who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) before mid-February. The law requires that the IRS withhold full refund, including the part not associated with EITC or ACTC. This change in law, which came into effect in 2017, helps ensure that taxpayers receive their reimbursement by giving the IRS more time to detect and prevent fraud.

When using Where is my refund? taxpayers can verify the status of their refund within 24 hours after the IRS has received their 2020 tax return filed electronically or four weeks after sending it by mail. Provide the taxpayer with a personalized date after the IRS processes the return and approves the refund. Taxpayers must take into account the time it takes to receive a check by mail, or for financial institutions to publish the refund in their accounts.