Things That Can Delay Your Tax Refund

Chris Bibey
by Chris Bibey

Receiving a tax refund is a great joy for many people, but this anticipated excitement can turn sour if your refund is delayed. There are many factors that can contribute to a delayed tax refund. Rather than wasting time and blindly asking “where’s my refund?” you should consider the potential reasons for the holdup.

Many taxpayers pondering the “where’s my refund” question do not realize that their tax return may be the problem. It there are any errors on your return, that will hinder your refund. Additionally, returns that are filed by paper and refunds that are requested by check generally take longer to process. Listed below are some of the most common reasons why your tax refund may be late.

You filed a paper tax return

There are many people who mail in their tax returns instead of filing electronically. While it won’t affect the amount of your refund, it will affect how long it takes the IRS to process your return. If you went to the Post Office to submit your tax return, you will likely have to wait 4 to 6 weeks before being able to ask “where’s my refund?” On the other hand, taxpayers who file electronically and choose the Direct Deposit option may receive their refunds in as little as 7 to 10 business days. As a result, most people who e-file their taxes are able to avoid frustration over the “where’s my refund” question.

There is misinformation on your tax return

If you’re wondering where your refund is, double-check to see if you omitted important information or make a mistake on your return.  Any errors on your tax return will cause it to be processed slower ― or you may have to submit an amended return, delaying your refund even longer. Make sure that your personal information is correct and your calculations add up before submitting your return. Otherwise, you may have to contact the IRS to straighten it out.

There are mathematical errors on your tax return

Computation errors related to estimated tax payments, taxable income, or withholding can delay processing and leave you wondering “where’s my refund?” It is important to make certain that your tax return is 100% accurate and true. Every year, thousands of people make math mistakes on their returns, which makes it more difficult for the IRS to process their refunds.

You mailed your tax return to the wrong address

If you are mailing in your tax return, it is essential that you send it to the proper address or you may find yourself asking, “where’s my refund?” Remember that the IRS is a huge organization with multiple mailing addresses (depending on the type of form and the type of entity filing). Also note that your state tax return must be sent to your state’s revenue department, not the IRS.

There are many factors that can delay a tax refund. To avoid aggravation over the “where’s my refund” question, double-check your return for errors and consider filing electronically for faster processing. Additionally, the IRS has an online system (appropriately named Where’s My Refund?) that can help you determine the status of your refund and when you can expect to receive it.