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Tax Topic 152

You logged into the “Where’s My Refund” tool to check your refund status, and now you see a message with the words “Refer to Tax Topic 152.” You may be wondering what that means, or worried that you did something wrong. But there’s no need to worry. This article will explain what Tax Topic 152 means, why it happens, and how to prevent it in the future.

What does Tax Topic 152 mean?

Tax Topic 152 is neither good nor bad. In the simplest terms, Tax Topic 152 means that the IRS needs some additional time to process your tax refund. You will still get your refund, and it does not mean you are being audited.

In 9 out of 10 cases, you can expect to receive your tax refund in 21 days or less. However, in some cases, additional reviews are needed and will take more time. Tax Topic 152 does not mean you made a mistake when filing your taxes (Tax Topic 303 indicates that there is an error). Tax topic 152 also does not require you to take any additional steps. It is just the IRS’s way of letting you know your refund will be later than expected.

What does it mean when tax topic 152 disappears?

So long as you still have a message saying ‘Refer to Tax Topic 152,’ it means your return is still processing. If the Tax Topic 152 message disappears, it simply means that the process is moving along!

You may also see the Tax Topic change. If the tax topic changes to 151, this means your refund is under review. This shouldn’t cause you to worry. Sometimes, they just need more information. They may also believe you owe money to the government (for instance, because of unpaid taxes or child support) in which case they will take a tax offset. You can accept or contest this offset. The IRS will send you more information on what to do next in the next four weeks

Why might there be a processing delay?

There are a few different reasons why your tax refund is taking longer to process:

  • refund is from an amended return (refunds are usually received within 16 weeks of filing but could take up to 20)
  • you filed an Injured Spouse Claim
  • you filed with an application for an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) attached
  • you requested a refund of tax withheld on a Form 1042-S by filing a Form 1040-NR (refunds may take 6 months)

In the past two years, historic backlogs at the IRS have also caused processing delays, especially for people who filed early.

What can I do to prevent delays in the future?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to speed up the processing of your tax return. However, you can help yourself avoid delays by being well prepared when you file your taxes. Before you start filing, make sure you have the following on hand:

  • Personal information such as the full names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of yourself, your spouse, and any dependents.
  • Your previous year’s tax return and your taxpayer identification number
  • Any income-related forms you receive, such as W-2s or any 1099s
  • Forms for reporting your health insurance coverage, such as a Form 1095
  • Any financial records related to charitable donations, childcare costs, or tuition fees

Additionally, you may want to consider filing electronically as opposed to a paper return. This can help you get your refund faster. Plus, mistakes are less likely when you e-file, meaning you won’t overpay your taxes.

Learn more about e-filing.


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