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Tax refund delays continue: Track your IRS money online today

The IRS has issued millions of tax refunds, but many taxpayers still want to know why their money is missing and how they can find it.

The IRS is experiencing unprecedented delays in reviewing 2020 tax returns and issuing refunds. Given a pandemic backlog, the ongoing batches of stimulus payments and new legislation -- including a $10,200 tax break on unemployment benefits -- the tax agency has been overloaded. Still, numerous taxpayers in need of their refund money are frustrated that the IRS estimate for issuing refunds in less than three weeks isn't quite accurate. Some have waited months.

Luckily, there are two online tools that can give you personalized refund information based on the processing of your tax return. We warn that if you try to call the IRS for help, phone assistance is iffy. Also, we'll help you navigate why your refund could be held up and what it means if you've received a direct deposit labeled "IRS TREAS 310."

The IRS is also preparing for next month's rollout of the expanded child tax credit. If you have children, there are ways to know if you qualify for the payments starting on July 15. As a side note, there are ways to track your third stimulus check if that hasn't arrived in the latest round of payments this month. We have updated this story.

What is causing delays in issuing tax refunds this year?

Because of the pandemic, the IRS ran at limited capacity in 2020, which put a strain on its ability to process tax returns and send out stimulus checks. The IRS is open again and processing mail, tax returns, payments, refunds and correspondence, but limited resources still continue to cause delays in services.

The IRS said it's issuing most refunds in less than 21 days right now but some are taking longer, including for mailed paper tax returns and manual processing. The IRS said it's also taking longer for some 2020 tax returns that require review, such as determining recovery rebate credit amounts for the first and second stimulus checks or figuring earned income tax credit and additional child tax credit amounts.

Here's a list of reasons your refund might be delayed:

  • Your tax return has errors.

  • It's incomplete.

  • Your refund is suspected of identity theft or fraud.

  • You filed for the earned income tax credit or additional child tax credit.

  • Your return needs further review.

  • Your return includes Form 8379, injured spouse allocation -- this could take up to 14 weeks to process.

How can I track my tax refund online?

To check the status of your income tax refund using the IRS trackers, you need several things on hand: your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, your filing status -- single, married or head of household -- and your refund amount in whole dollars, which you can find on your tax return. Also, make sure it's been at least 24 hours before you try tracking your refund.

Using the IRS tool Where's My Refund, enter your SSN or ITIN, your filing status and your exact refund amount, then press Submit. If you entered your information correctly, you'll be taken to a page that shows your refund status. If not, you may be asked to verify your personal tax data and try again. If all the information looks correct, you'll need to enter the date you filed your taxes, along with whether you filed electronically or on paper.

The IRS also has a mobile app called IRS2Go that checks your tax refund status. The IRS updates the data in this tool overnight, so if you don't see a status change after 24 hours or more, check back the following day.

Conner, K. (2021, June 14). Tax refund delays continue: Track your IRS money online today. CNET.

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